There are differences in performance between farmers. In the Netherlands this has been a major topic of research for at least 30 years. Research has shown that the managerial capacities of farmers play a major role in differences in economic and environmental performance. Management can be measured and the optimal level is not the maximum level. Farmers differ in their objectives, competences and local external situation and there-fore their strategies. These strategies can be identified. In recent years strategic management has become more important and this can be supported with consultancy. Farmers also differ in their adoption and innovation behaviour. These micro-economic results, which correlate with large differences in income and high prices of fixed assets with a limited supply, can be explained as being consistent with economic theory on perfect markets. Although these findings suggest that some farm households have attractive strategies that can cope with policy adjustments, the research supports the hypothesis but does not (yet) prove that a severe adjustment of agricultural policy e.g. towards a more market oriented policy, induces more innovation, and that due to this innovation the effects of adjusting the agricultural policy are less severe than estimated ex ante with current dynamic policy models.


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