Entrepreneurial younger farmers and the 'young farmer problem' in England

Hamilton, William, Bosworth, Gary and Ruto, Eric (2015) Entrepreneurial younger farmers and the 'young farmer problem' in England. In: Agrosym 2015, 15-18 October 2015, Jahorina Mountain, Sarajevo, Bosnia.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


In this paper we investigate the “Young Farmer Problem” in Europe with a specific focus on how it applies in England.
Recent reforms of the European Union’s (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have specifically targeted young farmers for increased support; with young farmers being seen as more innovative, entrepreneurial and amenable to change. Furthermore, the EU has stated that the “generational renewal” of agriculture is critical for the long term viability of the sector. This paper investigates the business performance and entrepreneurial behaviour of younger farmers in England through empirical analysis of Farm Business Survey (FBS) data, and finds some evidence to support the notion of higher levels of performance among younger farmers. Farmers in the 35 - <45 years age group showed consistently higher levels of overall productivity, profitability and investment. Additionally, the results show that younger farmers demonstrate consistently higher levels of engagement with agri-environment schemes. This study concurs with the findings of Zagata and Sutherland (2015) in the need to improve targeting on the basis of age specifically in order to isolate the under 40 age group which is the focus of European policy and in the need to separate new entrants from inheritors in the assessment of young farmers.
This paper and its supportive research builds on the fifth research objective of the Research platform proposed by Zagata and Sutherland (2015) to test the characterisation of young people and new entrants to farming, as entrepreneurial innovators sympathetic to and amenable with the goals of the CAP.

Keywords:Young farmers, Young Farmer Problem, Common Agricultural Policy, Entrepreneurship, England
Subjects:L Social studies > L112 Agricultural Economics
N Business and Administrative studies > N110 European Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:19209
Deposited On:22 Oct 2015 09:42

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