Multifunctional agriculture (e.g. home sales, or green care), is a development strategy that is increasingly adopted by farmers. In this study, Dutch multifunctional and conventional laying hen farms were compared.
Modernisation (e.g. scale-enlargement, intensification, specialization) is an often applied farm development strategy at laying hen farms in the Netherlands. Multifunctional agriculture (MFA, e.g. home sales, or green care), is another development strategy that is increasingly adopted. With regard to social sustainability (public support; integration and imbedding), MFA could be very important. For the laying hen sector, insight and knowledge on MFA development is limited. In this study Dutch MFA and conventional farms were compared; data was collected by in-depth interviews and an online survey.
Home sales was found to be number one most adopted MFA activity. On average 16% of the income was generated by MFA. More conventional farms than MFA farms had ‘company’ (BV/vof) as corporate form. The conventional farmers were also higher educated and it seemed that these farms enlarged more. However, majority of the MFA and conventional farms is large-sized now, and MFA seems to go side by side with development of the primary agricultural activities. MFA farmers participated more in study clubs, MFA partners had a higher on-farm labour input, and more family members worked at the farm. At home sales farms, not only the total time spend on MFA significantly increased, but also the partners’ input increased.
The most important stimulating development drivers, namely ‘vision & ambition’, and ‘entrepreneurship’, were found to be the same for both MFA and conventional farmers. The largest difference showed up for factors aimed at more social contact and bringing farming and citizens together, which turned out to be highly important for MFA development. Besides, farm succession was more mentioned as general farm development factor by MFA farmers. Future expectations of both conventional and MFA farmers are trusting, and enlargement of the laying hen activities was often mentioned. MFA activities were mostly expected to enlarge and seemed to be continued vividly. The findings of this study propose that MFA can be an appealing strategy and that there is willingness for dialogue, regional integration, and embedding among farmers
Student: L. Cornelissen
Supervisors: dr ir K. Eilers, dr ir S. Oosting