Video Resilient farms: who are they, what do they do?


How do farmers deal with change and what makes a farm (more) resilient? How do we ensure that there will still be farmers producing our food in the future? How do they deal with change, and what makes one farm more resilient than another? Isabeau Coopmans examined these questions in her doctoral work (ILVO-KULEUVEN).

A farmer is used to adapting to weather conditions, possible pests or fickle prices, in other words to good and bad farming years. But more than ever, farmers must also deal with rapidly changing expectations and stricter regulations, including for the environment and animal welfare. There are three types of resilience capacities that together determine the overall resilience of a farm or agricultural sector: robustness (or resilience), adaptability and transformation capacity.

Isabeau Coopmans: "My research confirms that it is difficult for many farms to adapt or transform. They work with living matter and, depending on the production cycle, it is sometimes very difficult to respond to changing circumstances at short notice. As a result, transformation capacity in the agricultural sector in particular appears to be very low. Indeed, they often run very high long-term investments. Whether robustness or adaptability is the better resilience strategy depends very much on the context. Support measures so far put so much emphasis on building in robustness that it did not improve the adaptive capacity of farms. We need to avoid that in the future. Possible solution paths include giving new business models a chance and establishing learning networks."

Isabeau Coopmans explains what resilience is and what a farmer can do to increase it in this video:

Production credit

This video was produced in the framework of Science Uitgedokterd, a project of SciMingo vzw


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