15th Congress Proceedings
Improving Entreprenuership In Farming: The Impact Of A Training Programme In Dutch Dairy Farming
Due to external and internal changes in dairy farming, entrepreneurial competencies are becoming increasingly important for dairy farmers. Investigating the possibility to improve these competencies by means of a training program is the main topic of the reported research. First the relations between the entrepreneurial competencies and farmer and farm characteristics were determined. To improve entrepreneurial competencies a training program was designed and executed. The influence of this training program on farm characteristics and entrepreneurial competencies was investigated by doing a case-control study. Two groups of Dutch dairy farmers were selected to participate in the case-control study. One group (n= 75) participated in the training program, which consisted of eight meetings. In these meetings groups of farmers discussed aspects related to entrepreneurial competencies. The second group (n=180) served as a control. The competencies of participating farmers in both groups were measured by means of a questionnaire at the start and at the end of the study. This research indicates that using the concept of competencies can give insight into entrepreneurial behaviour of farmers and provides a means to evaluate an intervention program aimed at development of a strategic plan by entrepreneurs. The described research method is a good way to identify a possible effect of an intervention. It also shows that entrepreneurial competencies have a positive relation with the farm size of dairy farmers in the Netherlands. The results of the case control study indicate that it is possible to improve entrepreneurial competencies of dairy farmers by means of developing and discussing the farmers’ strategic plans in study groups. On average all participants benefited from the program, irrespective of farmer and farm characteristics or the level of competencies at the start of the program. Keywords: dairy farming, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial competences, training programme, evaluation.