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Why do farming families diversify?

  • Year: 2007
  • Author: Medhurst, Alison; Segrave, Robin
  • Publisher: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
  • Published Location: Barton, ACT
  • ISBN: 1741515521
  • Country: Australia

In Australia, diversification is being implemented by farming families and promoted by extension personnel to build economic resilience to maintain rural landscapes and communities in the face of increasing financial and environmental pressures. The purpose of this report is to gain a better understanding of why farming families diversify their on-farm activities and what the outcomes of those diversifications are. It focuses on the farming family unit to ascertain their drivers, decision-making processes, motivation, information needs and common traits. Among the drivers encouraging diversification are: creating opportunity for family involvement; lifestyle choices; and spreading financial risk. Successful diversification for farming families includes a positive mix of financial and social outcomes. The advantages of diversification includes: increasing interest in the farm; the challenge of a new business; learning new skills; understanding where personal strengths lie; having new experiences; and meeting new people and being part of new networks. A range of disadvantages is placed into two categories: increased workloads with subsequent less free time; and the difficulties associated with marketing and distribution, principally through a lack of familiarity.

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