11th January 2006

 

DEVELOPING FARMERS’ ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS

 

Experts at the Lincoln Business School are joining a research project to help farmers to become entrepreneurs.

 

Academics at the University of Lincoln have secured an EU grant worth more than 100,000 over three years and are examining the socio-economic and cultural factors which hinder or stimulate the development of entrepreneurial skills in farmers.

 

The EsoF (Entrepreneurial Skills of Farmers) project brings together partner institutions in six European countries to determine the core skills which farmers have and the skills and support which they need in order to become more successful.

”Farmers have to become more entrepreneurial, b
ut do they have the necessary skills?“ asks Gerard McElwee, who is leading the project team at the Lincoln Business School. ”And does the political and social framework foster or hinder the development of entrepreneurial skills? This project is an attempt to answer these questions.”

As a result of changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) the farm and the farmer are operating in an arena of extreme and rapid change. “The farm business will move from a subsidised environment into one in which farmers will need to become more entrepreneurial,“ says Mr McElwee. “In order to do this, farmers need to develop their management and entrepreneurial skills.”

 

But there are still unresolved questions. How much does the socio-economic, cultural and political framework hinder the development of entrepreneurial skills? How must extension and training be designed to encourage the development of entrepreneurial skills of farmers? What can farmers do themselves to improve their own skills set?

 

The first stage of the project involved interviewing a number of stakeholders involved in the farming supply chain including politicians, food processors and representatives from supermarkets.

 

The respondents suggested that farmers need to develop their skills in marketing and selling, co-operation and networking, business and management and entrepreneurial qualities and values.

 

The next stage of the project commences in 2006, when up to 50 farmers will be interviewed.  For more information contact Gerard McElwee via email: gmcelwee@lincoln.ac.uk

 

For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

01522 886042                         jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk