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Abstract

The study identified some reasons that explain the limited use of scientific management tools by Brazilian farmers. A matrix of management activities was built to classify these reasons. Primary data used in the study were collected during two phases. During the first, 8 focus group manned by cash crop farmers, beef cattle farmers, and extension agents and counselors, were used to produce qualitative information. During the second phase, quantitative informations were collected via a survey with 494individual questionnaires applied to the same public covered by phase one. For the statistical tests performed 95% of significance was required. Some conclusions of the study are: (1) farmers differ significantly from extension agents or counselors on farm management subjects; (2) farmers do not alter their strategic production plans in response to price changes or other signals perceived as short or mid term movements due to costs of changes in their production processes; (3) in organizing their human resources structure farms tend to concentrate into their hands amounts of responsibilities larger than they can handle; (4) in organizing their financial flows there is a large gap between the desired level of details and their abilities to collect the data; and (5) the major difficulties faced in the function of controlling are linked with problems of collecting data. This is due to low levels of formal education that characterize the farm-hired labor.

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