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Review article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Values underlying farmers' business development decisions: evidence from Swedish agriculture using Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique

Miaris, Georgios; Lofgren, Sara; Hansson, Helena


Purpose: This study aimed to uncover the values that underlie farmers' strategic choices for business development. In particular, we uncovered farmers' values related to business development through farm diversification and compared these with values regarding business development through non-diversified farm activities.Methodology: We considered diversified and non-diversified farm activities as two possible strategic orientations related to farm development. For each strategic orientation, the study systematically uncovered its values grounded on in-depth interviews with 23 farmers in Sweden, using the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique. We analyzed values in terms of use- and non-use values related to the choice of strategic orientation.Findings: The results suggested that a heterogeneous set of use- and non-use values guide choices for farm strategic orientation. Particularly, for non-diversified farm activities, we identified eight values, of which three were categorized as use values and five as non-use values. For diversified farms, we found four values, all of which were categorized as non-use values.Practical Implications: Our results highlight that policymakers need to approach farm development differently for each strategic orientation, considering that the underlying values between these two groups differ. Also, for farm advisors, results can be useful for improving and adapting the communication and interaction with farmers, which can further improve the content and influence of advisory services.Theoretical Implications: The Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique expands the methodology of eliciting farmers' values and especially regarding farmers' strategic choices.Originality: This paper extends the knowledge of the driving forces that underlie farmers' choices for farm business development.


Farmers' values; Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique; farm diversification; non-diversified farm activities; farm business development; use values; non-use values

Published in

Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
2024, Volume: 30, number: 1, pages: 21-42