Daycares to Wedding Halls: Dutch farmers branching out to make ends meet
More and more farmers in the Netherlands are no longer focusing purely on farming, instead branching out their business for extra income. Only a third of farmers are focusing their future business operations on specialized farming only, such as keeping dairy cattle or fattening pigs and production for the world market, according to a study by Wageningen University & Research in collaboration with Agrio, Trouw reports.
The researchers surveyed 1,200 farmers about their business and plans for the future. "And what appeared very clearly is that farmers are expanding. Specialization and orientation on the world market is increasingly making way for additional activities farmers participate in," researcher Han Wiskerke, professor of rural sociology at WUR said to the newspaper.
In addition to their agricultural business, farmers in the Netherlands are also running campsites on their land, renting out their buildings for the wintering of caravans or as wedding venues. There are even a few farm-based daycares in the country. Other farmers are considering generating income through sustainable energy - installing solar panels and wind turbines on their land and selling the generated power.
When asked why they're delving into these other activities, the vast majority of farmers said to supplement their income. Only a quarter of farmers said that all their income comes from agriculture. About 40 percent of surveyed farmers told the researchers that their future business will generate income from additional activities.
Another reason for this branching out lies in the social sphere. "Farmers also like to be in contact with people from outside the farm," Wiskerke said to the newspaper.