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Local – If Possible: How the Spatial Networking of Economic Relations amongst Farm Enterprises Aids Small Town Survival in Rural Australia

  • Year: 2010
  • Author: Pritchard B., Argent N., Baum S., Bourke L., Martin J., McManus P., Sorensen A., Walmsley J.
  • Journal Name: Regional Studies
  • Journal Number: Vol.46, No.4
  • Country: Australia

Over recent decades, the tendency in developed countries has been the consolidation of farms into fewer and larger units, and a shifting of economic functions from smaller to larger population settlements. This paper uses data from face-to-face interviews with 115 Australian farmers in agriculture-dependent regions to investigate how the spatial pattern of farm expenditure affects these processes. It is concluded that in these spatial contexts, stability, attachment, and reliance on 'the local' remain vital components in farm–town economic links, notwithstanding substantial adaptation by farmers to restructured economic and community circumstances. Such expenditures help sustain small towns, thus tempering judgements on rural decline.

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