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Abstract

Operating in a deregulated economy that provides minimal support to agriculture, New Zealand dairy farmers are exposed to considerable uncertainty. However, this uncertainty provides both opportunities and threats for New Zealand dairy farms and often it is the capacity of the farm manager to interpret and respond to external (and internal) information that determines the extent of the advantage or disadvantage that is eventually realized. The research question in this study is to determine whether the perceptions of risk (importance and likelihood) differ according to time horizon and according to whether the risk is viewed as an opportunity or a threat. Subsequent to this question is whether presenting farmer perceptions in a format that better illustrates and informs on the relativity between the sources of risk can enhance the capacity of farm managers to either avoid or exploit the threat and opportunity respectively. This paper reports on the development and application of a methodology to answer these questions. The methodology is then tested on a selected group of farmers with the results analyzed and presented.

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