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Abstract

Results from a pilot application of Defra’s segmentation model applied to the Farm Business Survey for England are presented. Interviews with 750 FBS co-operators during 2010, using a discursive approach, classified co-operators into one of five segmentation groups: Custodians (14.0%); Lifestyle Choice (7.2%); Pragmatists (53.3%); Modern Family Business (21.1%); Challenged Enterprises (4.4%). On average, Modern Family Businesses operated the largest land area, achieved the greatest farm financial (and agricultural) output, and Farm Business Income (FBI), whilst the Lifestyle Choice segment returned the lowest average FBI. Variation in regional tendencies across the segmentation groups was observed, with variation also noted for forms of business, LFA and lowland classification, organic, farm assurance and tenure status. Pragmatists and Modern Family Businesses recorded the greatest proportion of co-operators with college, or higher level, qualifications, drew more heavily upon external technical and business advice supplied for a charge, had higher level skills in management accounting and use of IT, and were associated with younger co-operators. Qualitative findings signify a range of comments which reinforce the quantitative analysis. Future research should seek to more explicitly account for a range of business and personal factors, and explore the potential for using a structured questionnaire based approach

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