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Treating farms as firms? The evolution of farm business support from productionist to entrepreneurial models

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeremy Phillipson, Professor Matthew Gorton, Marian Raley, Dr Andrew Moxey

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Abstract

Farming enterprises throughout the European Union have traditionally been treated very differently by the state compared with their nonagricultural counterparts. Agricultural activities have been governed by a separate set of policy objectives, political institutions, and support agencies. However, this agricultural ′ exceptionalism′ is being steadily eroded as markets are partially liberalised, farmers are encouraged to pursue new forms of economic activity, and as government institutions are reformed. Farmers are being encouraged to see themselves as ′ entrepreneurs′ to face fundamentally changed markets. There is, therefore, renewed attention to the existing levels of generic business skills within the farming sector and to the nature and effectiveness of business advice and support frameworks in enhancing these skills. The paper investigates the extent to which farmers have experienced different patterns of business support use and perceive themselves as having different generic skills needs in comparison with other rural microbusinesses and considers the attractiveness of different models of delivering business advice to the sector. A review is undertaken of the evolution of rural business support in England together with an analysis of data from a survey of almost 1800 rural microbusinesses in the northeast of England. It is concluded that there are a number of significant challenges facing the adjustment of the farm sector towards a more entrepreneurial model of business development arising from the sector's legacy of separation and exceptionalism within the support framework. In order to help encourage the development of generic business skills an ′ intermediary′ model of business advice is advocated, in which an intermediary agency acts as a bridge between farms and generic business support providers.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Phillipson J, Gorton M, Raley M, Moxey A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning C: Government & Policy

Year: 2004

Volume: 22

Issue: 1

Pages: 31-54

ISSN (print): 0263-774X

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Pion Ltd.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/c0238

DOI: 10.1068/c0238


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