Farmer's needs and expectations in regard to technical and service innovations

Date of publication: February 1, 1996

Company: BVA Group

Author: Sylvie Darier

Abstract:

This study was conducted by BVA in the Spring of 1994 in 7 cereal producing regions of the European Union. Farmers were brought together in a total of 8 small focus groups. The participants were comparatively young cereal growers with at least 5 years of experience. They were selected on the basis of factors that included the use of computer- driven management tools, trial use of new products, recent or anticipated investments in additional farm surface, materials or buildings. This pre-selection produced a profile of high-performing, dynamic, innovative forward-looking farmers. The objective of this study was to examine the ways in which these farmers view their future within a context of lower wheat prices and reduced countervailing subsidies, to find out how they expect to remain operationally viable at the technical and economic levels. Given the prospective nature of this research, a group dynamics methodology was used. This technique is optimal under these conditions in that it allows each participant to enrich his or her ideas by reflecting them off others in the group. It offers a wealth of results in terms of research, expectations, needs and innovative ideas. It should be emphasized that the results presented here are valid only for the target population being studied: forward-looking farmers who have relatively extensive farm surfaces.

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