In a study of dairy farm owners from a small geographical region and exposed to similar environmental conditions, management decisions were found to be better described by long-term goals than the commonly assumed goals of productivity and profitability. The assessment was made after analysing physical and managerial data from a two year period that included a period of drought. Farmers were interviewed to establish their long-term goals and the rationale of various farm strategies. Cognitive maps, where important concepts are mapped and linked to illustrate the line of argument, were used to represent visually, farmers goals and rationale. The long term goals of the 32 case farmers indicated that for 14 of them expansion and development was important; nine were interested in stabilising and economising; nine were looking for ways of reducing their involvement. These findings are relevant to advisers, who wish to help their client, to industries, whose goals may differ from those of the farmer, and to resource managers, who may wish to see environmental and ethical standards adopted by farmers.

CW, Holmes, F Cayzer, and WJ Parker

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 53, , 65-68, 1993
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