Business Support For Farmers: A Necessary Evil?

Gerard McElwee, Ivan Annibal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The article presents an account of a Farm Support Project in Cornwall which provides support, advice and an outreach facility for farmers in the Penwith district of Cornwall, UK. It discusses how effective such schemes are, particularly in an external environment, which poses threats to the farm sector in the UK. Three kinds of questions about the nature of farming and the status of farmers are posed. The first set of questions includes polarizations about the hegemonic position of farmers. Second, macro-economic, and thus policy, questions concerning the economic 'footprint' of the farmer and the farm's relationship with the economy are posed in Cornwall. The third set of questions concerns the economic role and entrepreneurial capability of the farmer in Cornwall. The Penwith Scheme encompasses an integrated approach to providing business support to farmers including signposting specialist advisers, the facilitation of training assistance with major grant applications, the development of 'social capital' through to help in accessing sources of social support. Farm Cornwall is a unique example of support to farmers. Replication of such a scheme across other rural regions and indeed other business sectors is possible and desirable but would require a full appraisal of the efficacy of regional and local business support to rural business.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-195
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Rural Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


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