Title: Are farmers businesspeople? Highlighting transformations in the profession of farmers in France

Authors: Christele Couzy, Anne-Charlotte Dockes

Addresses: French Livestock Institute, Institut de l'Elevage, Agrapole, 23 rue Jean Baldassini, 69364 Lyon Cedex 7, France. ' French Livestock Institute, Institut de l'Elevage, 149 rue de Bercy, 75595 Paris Cedex 12, France

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to promote understanding of the current transformations in the profession of farmer. A literature review and 40 in-depth semistructured interviews were carried out in two regions of France. One hypothesis was that society|s views and perceptions of farmers were of increasing importance for the farmers. This hypothesis was confirmed. Moreover, the diversity of models that the farmers use to define their profession is highlighted. Besides the usual agricultural references, the respondents focus on the |entrepreneur| model, or on a personal, individualised project. Farming increasingly appears to be a job like any other. Six profiles of farmers were created by adding a more personal dimension through research into traditional or creative attitudes. The main transformations in the farming profession are threefold: farmers are getting more and more |professional|, with increasing value being placed on organisational, management and human resources skills; farmers increasingly take into account the expectations of society when defining their job; and they increasingly identify themselves as businesspeople.

Keywords: farming profession; social representations; in-depth interviews; identity model; rural entrepreneurship; farmers; France; businesses; organisational skills; management skills; human resources skills.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2008.019135

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2008 Vol.6 No.3, pp.407 - 420

Published online: 30 Jun 2008 *

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