Factors influencing the flexibility of farming systems: Case study of the Flemish beef farming sector

Laura Schotte, Jonas Hanssens, Xavier Gellynck, Fleur Marchand, Erwin Wauters

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingC1: Articles in proceedingspeer-review

    Abstract

    In Western countries, most farming systems are highly specialized with a strong focus on increasing productivity, maximum biological control and technological optimization. Nonetheless, these farming systems experience economic and social difficulties and are confronted with the ecological boundaries of their environment. As a response, there is increasing attention for a shift in agricultural focus from optimization and control to one on resilience and adaptive capacity. Flexibility is seen as an important aspect of a farm’s resilience (Darnhofer et al., 2010) and can be defined as the room for change or the degrees of freedom (Lev & Campbell, 1987). It enhances the possibility to react to environmental changes and is part of the farm’s adaptive capacity. These concepts are well described and operationalized in management science, but agricultural science focusses mostly on theoretical and conceptual aspects. There is a need to translate this theoretical knowledge into practical knowledge, so that flexibility can be used as an evaluation criterion over and above traditional concepts such as efficiency and productivity. The first step is to provide insight in the factors influencing the farmer’s choice set. In this paper we present preliminary results regarding this insight, investigating the case of the Flemish beef farming sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th International Symposium for Farming Systems Design, Montpellier, September 7 - 10, 2015
    EditorsEmmanuel S. Gritti , Jacques Wery
    Number of pages2
    Publication dateSep-2015
    Publication statusPublished - Sep-2015
    Event5th International Symposium for Farming Systems Design - Montpellier, France
    Duration: 7-Sep-201510-Sep-2015
    http://fsd5.european-agronomy.org/

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