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NEW RESEARCH | Entrepreneurial farmers more satisfied with their income

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Farmers with an entrepreneurial-oriented (EO) growth strategy are more satisfied with their income than those without. On the other hand, the EO strategy leaves less time for other, perhaps more important, aspects of life. So says Georgios Miaris, a recent PhD student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Describe, what is EO?

– An entrepreneurial approach means that the entrepreneur is innovative, risk-taking and proactive. Being innovative can include, for example, investing in new products and services, taking risks by making decisions where the end result is uncertain, being proactive by looking for opportunities before the competition and acting to anticipate future demand.

What are your main practical achievements?

Georgios Miaris. Photo: Private.

– Since farms are small businesses, we felt it was important to measure the performance of the business in terms of satisfaction. We do this based on five aspects: economic performance, farm income, leisure time, farm size and employment opportunities.

– Our results show that farmers with a more entrepreneurial orientation are also more satisfied with their income than others, but less satisfied with their leisure time. The results may indicate that EO is a good way to increase farm income. However, not all farmers may be willing to be entrepreneurial as it can lead to stress and anxiety, and thus less satisfaction with leisure time. We already know that leisure time is important for farmers.

Was there anything in your research that surprised you?

– Yes, the entrepreneurial farmers who invest in peripheral products and services in addition to their regular activities are not more satisfied than others.

What messages do you have for politicians and other decision-makers?

– In general, agricultural businesses have lower incomes than other small businesses, so there is an income gap. And since we have seen that EO can make farmers more satisfied with their income, public funds should be invested to encourage entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. Food and farming organizations also have an important role to play, for example in promoting entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector by strategically disseminating good examples to other members.

– But it is important to keep in mind that there are farmers who are not willing to “sacrifice” their free time for more money in their wallets.

Contact georgios.miaris@slu.se

More about the thesis

Georgios Miaris recently defended his doctoral thesis at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Farm business development: The motivations and effects of diversification strategies. Based on four different articles, he examines factors underlying the development of agricultural enterprises in Sweden, and the economic and social consequences of different growth strategies. To the thesis.

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