Using the data gathered by the Business Survey on Agriculture survey on a stratified random sample of Italian farm businesses below 4 European economic size units as a case study, this paper explores the diffusion of diversification strategies among small farms. The analysis has shown that more than a half of small farms is adopting some form of diversification. Small farms are more strongly involved in pluriactivity, while their involvement in broadening and deepening strategies appears only marginal. This latter result is partly due to the underevaluation of diversification caused by the lack of detailed statistical information about diversified activities used by farms, and, partly, due to the structural characteristics of small farms. Smaller farms are usually characterized by a lack of capital; as a consequence they can often redeploy only their labour off the farm. The characteristics associated with the targeted group of farms show that small farms using broadening strategies present much better economic results than conventional small farms. More specifically, farms using broadening strategies appear to be the winning ones in terms of net farm income per family working unit.


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