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Persistence of family farming, learning from its dynamics


  • Calus, Mieke
  • Lauwers, Ludwig H.


Traditionally, the family farm has always been seen as a cornerstone of the agricultural production system. Given social, economic and political evidence (Calus, 2009), this organisational form might still continue to shape agricultural development. However, important changes in social and economic environment (e.g. industrialisation of agriculture, increased risk level and public vision on agriculture) become threats to the traditional model. A SWOT analysis of the family farms indicates the various intrinsic characteristics that make family farms resilient to changing conditions. Even in a changing economic and social landscape these aspects provide them with building blocks for creating new organisational forms or institutional arrangements. This paper shows these building blocks, and is only, prudentially, indicative for possible new institutional arrangements. Creativity may produce numerous outcomes from building blocks. Land tenure is only one example from past and present to show how institutions can deal with a potential threat, such as the large demand for land as production factor. Similar creativity is needed to the exploding capital demand in agriculture. One of the major challenges will be to provide family farms with low-costing capital. Food security and local community viability is the social price for this low cost supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Calus, Mieke & Lauwers, Ludwig H., 2009. "Persistence of family farming, learning from its dynamics," 111th Seminar, June 26-27, 2009, Canterbury, UK 52857, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa111:52857

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    family farm; corporate farm; peasant; SWOT; Consumer/Household Economics;

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