An assessment of the impact of government support measures in encouraging entrepreneurship, business innovation and diversification at the farm level

As farmers continue to deal with increasingly competitive economic and environmental conditions farm diversification can be an alternative to traditional production agriculture and offers a potential solution to low income levels in farming. Moving into a diversified activity  doesn’t necessarily involve giving up farming. Many farms, by their very nature of being family businesses with access to a range of resources, may on occasion have the opportunity to divert resources,  (for example, buildings, capital and labour) into another enterprise. In addition, at the wider rural level, diversification at farm level can secure employment and also make rural areas more economically sustainable. A key aim of this project is to assess the impact of government support measures under the 2007 - 2013 Rural Development Programme (RDP) in encouraging diversification, alongside entrepreneurship and business innovation at the farm level and its impact on the local rural economy.