Risk Management Strategies By Australian Farmers
Australian farmers operate in one of the most risky environment in the world. They have to cope with various sources of risk in their businesses. This paper reports results of two case studies undertaken to examine the issues of farming risks and risk management strategies in Australia.
The first case study found that climate variability, financial risk, marketing risk, and personal risk were regarded as the major sources of farming risk in the Upper Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. The main management strategies used by farmers included diversifying varieties, minimising tillage, minimising area of risky crops and maximising area of the least-risky crop, having high equity, having farm management deposits and other off-farm investments, and “leaving marketing to experts”.
The second case study revealed that climate variability was ranked as the most important source of farming risk in southwest Queensland. This was then followed by financial risks, government policy, and marketing risks. The main management strategies used were enterprise diversification (having predominantly cattle and farming cash crops), conserving moisture, using zero till planting, diversified sales (selling only part of the farm’s production at any one time), and having off-farm investments.
The paper then attempts to reconcile the two case studies by comparing the results with studies from the United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Keywords: risk, risk management, strategies, farmers, Australia.