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The EU agricultural policy has recently been characterized by radical changes that increase market volatilities. Especially in the dairy market, fluctuating prices as well as production and political risks lead to high uncertainty for farmers. Based on a comprehensive survey, this paper discusses the risk perception and risk management strategies of dairy farmers in selected European countries. This approach allows a more detailed analysis of the determinants of farmers’ risk perceptions and risk management. First, based on the literature, a comprehensive framework was developed for the determinants of farmers’ risk perceptions and risk management. This framework guided an empirical study in 2007 in which 236 German dairy farmers were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. Subsequently, parallel surveys have been conducted in the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and France using case studies and expert interviews on dairy farmers’ risk management. The findings provide in-depth insights into the determinants of risk perception and risk management on dairy farms and the way risk management is integrated into the strategic management of those farms. The most important risks that dairy farmers currently perceive are various market risks followed by policy and production risks. Results show that future-oriented dairy farmers operate in a risk-conscious but not risk-averse way and selectively apply risk management strategies.


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