Centre for Rural Research Annual Review 2004 - College of Social ...

socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk

Centre for Rural Research Annual Review 2004 - College of Social ...

Because of its potential to assist structural change in the industry, in the rightcircumstances joint ventures may be seen as an alternative to both expanding thefarmer’s own herd or, worse, to going out of production. The use of a jointventure arrangement has the potential to provide the following benefits to theparticipating farmers:• Lead to better economies of scale.• Allow the improvement and/or re-deployment of production.• Promote the development of diversification activities.• Lead to increased leisure time.• Makes access easier for new entrants.• Present an alternative exit strategy.• Make farming more enterprise-focussed.• Facilitate more environmentally friendly production units.Although joint ventures are more common in crop production, the studyidentified a growing interest in its potential to assist dairy farmers to meet thecoming challenges. UK dairying will soon be entering a new phase of reducedintervention support and increased competition from world producers. Theavailability of information on the rationalisation of dairy farming through jointventuring should be seen as an important contribution to the restructuring of theindustry.However, an effective joint venture requires farmers to do a certain amount of‘thinking outside the box’ since as this research shows the possible forms a jointventure might take are not necessarily obvious at the outset. Moreover, manyUK farmers are still very strongly focussed on self-reliance and, by its nature, ajoint venture involves effective collaboration between the farmers concerned inorder to optimise the productivity of the resources available, including the humanresource (skills and specialisms, both technical and managerial). It is our beliefthat this form of business arrangement will become more familiar in the UK’sfarming sector over the coming years, and will prove to be an important meansby which farmers are able to benefit from some of the advantages that increasedscale and collaboration bring, thereby maintaining their productive involvementin their industry beyond what would otherwise have been possible.98

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