The redefinition of family farming: agricultural restructuring and farm adjustment in Waihermo, New Zealand

S. Johnsen

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The process of agricultural restructuring embarked upon by the New Zealand government in the mid-1980s precipitated a period of financial hardship for many of the nation's farmers. It was not uncommon for families to adapt major adjustment strategies in order to maintain the viability of their enterprise at this time. Drawing upon a detailed case study of farm-level responses in a small rural locality, this paper argues that farm adjustments employed during and since this period have altered the character of family farming in the area in fundamental ways. Such change has been evident in the increasing heterogeneity of farm structure, and the alteration of farming goals and household labour arrangements, together with the evolution of local cultural norms. These transformations not only raise important questions about the future structure and sustainability of family farming in the area, but also inspire a conceptual reconsideration of the family farm unit as traditional linkages between the farm enterprise, household and property are weakened
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-432
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004

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