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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1677; doi:10.3390/su9101677

Three-Fold Embedding: Farm Development in Relation to Its Socio-Material Context

1
Department of Applied Research, Aeres University of Applied Sciences, De Drieslag 4, 8251 JZ Dronten, The Netherlands
2
Rural Sociology, Wageningen University and Research, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
3
Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 August 2017 / Revised: 3 September 2017 / Accepted: 16 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Abstract

Understanding heterogeneity in farm development strategies is important in order to design effective policies and support programs to increase the sustainability of agriculture in relation to its socio-material context. Using a unique case study of 102 dairy farmers in The Netherlands, all operating in a highly similar socio-material context, this paper studies the differences in the relation of farms with the socio-material context. To this end, the concept of three-fold embedding is developed and tested using the ideal-typical characteristics of three patterns of farm development that were identified in the case study: (1) maximising total milk production; (2) optimising milk production using mainly on-farm resources; and (3) diversified on-farm production. Three-fold embedding was conceptualised in relation to the following dimensions: (1) value chain relations; (2) socio-cultural relations; and (3) natural resource relations, while using a scale ranging from a Close to a Stretched set of relations. The concept of three-fold embedding proves to be useful to identify in a non-normative and non-binary manner meaningful differences between patterns of farm development. These differences relate to differences in opportunity identification and strategic decision-making. The concept supports a relational perspective in studying farm strategy development using a sociology of entrepreneurship approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: farm development; dairy farm; embeddedness; strategy; perception; heterogeneity farm development; dairy farm; embeddedness; strategy; perception; heterogeneity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Methorst, R.; Roep, D.; Verstegen, J.; Wiskerke, J.S.C. Three-Fold Embedding: Farm Development in Relation to Its Socio-Material Context. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1677.

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