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Demographic trends affect EU farms' availability of successors and hired labour. If a potential successor is available, generational renewal on family farms occurs in stages: the successor's identity formation, the farm transfer, and the farm development. If generational renewal on the farm level is not possible, adaptations of other farms can ensure the future provision of private and public goods on the regional level if there is a sufficient supply of hired labour.
The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy appears essential for farming systems’ resilience, but its resilience-enabling effects in practice remain underexplored. We assessed how farming system actors perceive the CAP’s effects on resilience. The CAP contains a robustness-oriented approach, which actors expect to buffer stress and shocks, while adaptation receives less support and transformation is neglected. Policies need to a take a broader, integrated approach towards farming systems’ resilience.
Cooperation in this farming system mainly occurs amongst processing industry and supply chain actors who have an interest in maintaining milk production, which means investing in robustness at the sector level. Additionally, the current policy environment mostly enables robustness. Yet economies of scale associated with robustness might render the sector more susceptible to shocks and stresses. In the future, supporting adaptive and transformative capacity should be encouraged to assure resilience in the long term.
This chapter aims to formulate principles and recommendations for an enabling environment that fosters resilience of farming systems. Principles have been derived from archetypical patterns identified in the various case studies on how actions in the enabling environment tend to constrain the resilience of farming systems.
This paper focuses on systems producing short rotation coppice willows (SRCW) in chickens’ free-range areas. We aim to map chicken farmers’ motivation to implement SRCW, and to assess the economic viability of these systems. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 free-range chicken farmers. Farmers agreed that chickens would prefer SRCW over grassland, which could benefit chicken welfare. They expected establishing an SRCW system would be labor intensive, and doubted if it would be a profitable investment. Some concerns of farmers might be taken away by exchanging information with farmers with SRCW experience. A partial budget analysis was performed to calculate the net present value (NPV) of six different scenarios, differing in the type of chickens, in whether the produced biomass was sold or valorized on-farm and in harvest pattern, all over a 23-yr period. The NPV was positive but low for all scenarios. A sensitivity analysis showed that changes in biomass yield, wood chip price, a price premium for poultry products and current fuel price were most likely to influence the NPV. A risk analysis revealed that NPVs were positive in the majority of the modeled cases. Scenarios in which biomass was used for on-farm heat production showed the highest risk of a negative NPV. A price premium for poultry products may be most effective at increasing profitability, but may only be feasible for farms selling directly to consumers. Establishing a solid market for biomass energy, including guaranteed demand and availability of appropriate machinery for cultivation, may mitigate farmers’ concerns.
Understanding motivating factors for taking soil conservation measures is seen as key to improving on-farm implementation. However, to date only few on-farm conservation measures have been investigated. The objective of this paper is to investigate the influence of farmers’ subjective beliefs on their intention to apply and actual implementation of cover cropping, with the region of Brandenburg (Germany) as a case. An additional objective was to investigate how these insights can contribute to increase farm level implementation of soil conservation measures. Theory of planned behavior provides an approach to understand human behavior by analyzing farmers’ subjective beliefs. Our results, based on a survey of 96 farmers, show that attitudes (ATTs) and perceived difficulty significantly explain variations in intention to apply cover cropping, with ATTs being generally very positive. We discuss that, in this case, the most effective way to increase on-farm implementation is to decrease the farmers’ perception of difficulty. This can be achieved by providing information to farmers on how to overcome barriers to implementation of conservation measures. In-depth insights into belief structures reveal what kind of information is most useful in the case of cover cropping.
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