Business support for farmers: An evaluation of the Farm Cornwall project

Gerard McElwee, Ivan Annibal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present 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. It also 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 polarisations 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. Design/methodology/approach: A desk study of the scheme's objectives, a literature review, and interviews with 27 stakeholders were reported on specifically the results of the interviews. Findings: The Penwith Scheme encompasses an integrated approach to providing business support to farmers including: sign-posting 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. Research limitations/implications: 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. Practical implications: Policy and practical implications for this scheme and others are described. Originality/value: The novel aspect of the paper is that it describes a useful business support mechanism which has utility for a range of stakeholders involved in supporting the development of rural enterprises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-491
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


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