13th Congress Proceedings
Modern Agricultural Entrepreneurship
Drastic changes in Dutch agriculture have made agricultural entrepreneurship increasingly complex. But are farmers dealing with this complexity, and if so, how? This study, entitled ‘the mystery of entrepreneurship’, attempts to answer these questions. The aim of the research is to provide insight into the actual state of the art of Dutch agricultural entrepreneurship. This will clarify for policy makers how, and if, agricultural entrepreneurs are dealing with the radical changes in agriculture that are facing them. Answers to these questions will indicate how agricultural entrepreneurship can be stimulated. The final stage of the research will consider how to translate the results into agricultural education. The research will be focussed on the personal characteristics of entrepreneurs, on the different strategies they use to deal with the radical changes in agriculture, on their use of the knowledge infrastructure and, consequently, their use of social networks and on innovativeness. In addition, managerial tasks of entrepreneurs will be studied as well as the extent to which different farmers are oriented towards products, processes, system, chain and society, because this gives an impression of the stage of development of the farms. A survey of 1500 agricultural entrepreneurs, supplemented by more detailed qualitative information gathered from 45 farms by means of structural interviewing, comprise the material for answering our questions about entrepreneurship. Some preliminary results are presented here to illustrate how a farm feature, such as a way of farming, an environmental factor such as region and a personal feature such as age, can affect entrepreneurship.