Why small farms persist? The inﬂuence of farmers’ characteristics on farm growth and development. The case of smaller dairy farmers in NZ
Human capital is an important resource in primary production impacting on farmers’ decisions and actions. Given their current and expected economic environment, farmers must use their human capital in mapping out a trajectory for their farm. This study considers particular aspects of farmers’ human capital and its inﬂuence on farm growth, or lack of it. Farmers’ characteristics as expressed through their personality, intelligence and objectives are the main human capital aspects considered in a sample of smaller NZ dairy farms. They are somewhat typical of western farmers working on smaller farms. They can be broadly classed into Expanders, Maintainers and Retractors. It is hypothesised each group will have distinct and diﬀerent personal characteristics and these inﬂuence the farmers’ choice of trajectory. This is in addition to purely economic factors. It is also hypothesised the characteristics inﬂuence the farmers’ choice of development strategy and how challenges to the strategy are viewed. The data collected from the small dairy farms support the hypotheses suggesting the design of policy and extension programs must allow for these human capital drivers. Using past data, it is also shown aspects of human capital are diﬀerent in large farms emphasising the same conclusion.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsdevelopment attitudes; farmer typologies; growth challenges; human capital; objectives and typologies; personality and farm growth; Agricultural Economics & Policy
Fields of Research0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management; 070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
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