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Enabling change in family farm businesses

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Fulton, Amabel Lesley Anderson (2009) Enabling change in family farm businesses. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The central argument of the thesis is that as the dominant economic and social structure in
advanced industrialized agriculture, the family farm business is central to enabling change in
rural Australia. A deep understanding of the family farm business — its components and their
interactions — is critical to designing mechanisms for enabling change in Australian
agriculture. The process of enabling change needs to address the needs of the right people, at
the right time. A service brokering model — which incorporates this approach — is proposed as
an alternative to the current 'product-push' model of extension in Australia.
The thesis is presented as a series of selected research papers, published over several years,
and which have a common proposition: that understanding the social dynamics of the family
farm business is core to enabling change in Australian agriculture. In addition to a general
introduction to enabling change in family farm businesses, the papers address the following
topics:
• Identification of the characteristics of family farm businesses as the dominant
structural unit in Australian agriculture (Paper I)
• A review of the role and needs of women in family farm businesses in Australia
(Paper 2)
• Research on the role of agribusiness in family farm decision making (Paper 3)
• An assessment of the barriers to farm diversification in regional Tasmania (Paper 4)
• A review of research on agricultural extension, learning and change (Paper 5)
• Identification of effective processes for ensuring the content of learning activities for
family farm businesses is relevant to their changing needs (Paper 6)
• The case for meeting the needs of family farm businesses through training brokerage
(Paper 7)
Across the papers, a conceptual framework to assist in the design of programmes aimed at
enabling change in family farm businesses in Australia is presented. This model conceives
family farm business behaviour as the outcome of the interactions between the family, the
natural resources which are farmed, and the farm business, all within a broader social,
economic and political context. The thesis presents an alternate extension model to the current
'product-push' model. The service broker concept addresses the provision of extension
services in agriculture by focusing on the needs of family farm businesses. A case is made for
agencies to act as 'brokers' between family farm businesses and the wide range of services
available to address their needs. Such an approach, coordinated at a regional level, has the
potential to deliver a major breakthrough in the rate of improvement in the sustainability of
our family farm businesses, our rural industries and rural and regional Australia.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Family-owned business enterprises, Sociology, Rural, Rural industries, Rural families, Agriculture
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2009 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Available for library use only and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (Ph.D)--University of Tasmania, 2008. Includes bibliographical references. Preface: a story of life -- Introduction: enabling change in family farm business -- Paper 1. The influence of the woolgrower's sociological environment on technology adoption -- Paper 2. Fostering women's participation in on-farm programs -- Paper 3. Farmer decision making under contract farming in northern Tasmania -- Paper 4. Accelerating diversification in the Northern Midlands and Fingal Valley -- Paper 5. Agricultural extension, learning and change -- Paper 6. Providing client focused education and training -- Paper 7. A responsive training market: the role of brokers

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:13
Last Modified: 06 May 2016 05:32
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