Farm diversification, entrepreneurship and technology adoption: analysis of upland farmers in Wales

Wyn Morris, Andrew Henley, David Dowell

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    Farm businesses face increasing challenges in the face of policy reform which envisages multifunctional rural economies with objectives which span the environmental, the social as well as the production of food. This leads to uncertainties and ambiguities in the way in which farms respond to incentives and pressures to become entrepreneurial, to diversify, to become more efficient at food production and to adopt new technology. This paper examines these tensions in the context of upland agricultural business in rural Wales. Qualitative and quantitative results support a conclusion of significant heterogeneity in farm response, and highlight tensions between maintaining a focus towards current on-farm activity or pursuing entrepreneurial diversification, as well as differing levels of technology adoption in support of these income streams. Supported by a descriptive cluster analysis based on survey data, the paper proposes a new conceptual categorisation of entrepreneurial strategy, distinguished on the basis of attitudes towards on- and off-farm income generation and on stated stance towards current and future policy grant streams. The paper discusses some of the factors that may determine how particular farmers and farming businesses lie within this categorisation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-143
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Rural Studies
    Early online date26 May 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


    • Agriculture
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Technology adoption
    • Diversification


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