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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Farmers' motives for diversifying their farm business – The influence of family

Hansson, Helena; Ferguson, Richard; Olofsson, Christer; Rantamäki-Lathinen, Leena


This study examined the motives underlying decisions by farmers to start new ventures outside conventional agriculture and assessed the importance of the farm family situation in formulating these motives. The study was based on quantitative data obtained from 309 Swedish farmers who self-reported that they ran other ventures in addition to their agricultural production enterprises. Factor analysis revealed a structure with two underlying motives for starting a venture outside conventional agriculture, namely ‘business development for reasons to reduce risk and to use idle resources' and ‘business development for social and lifestyle reasons'. The factor scores obtained were related to measures of involvement of the farmer's spouse in planning and managing the new venture and the importance of family considerations at a more general level. The results showed that the motives for starting new ventures were dependent on the situation of the farm family, but that the two groups of indicators identified influenced these motives in opposite ways. These findings are of obvious interest for rural development policy makers.

Published in

Journal of Rural Studies
2013, volume: 32, pages: 240-250

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Olofsson, Christer
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Rantamäki-Lathinen, Leena
Agrifood Research Finland (MTT)

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

UKÄ Subject classification

Business Administration

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