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Entrepreneurship among farmers and ranchers: A collective case study of idea generation and the subsequent decisions and actions exhibited by farmers and ranchers in Nebraska and Montana relating to secondary business ventures

Margareta Smith Knopik, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

This collective case study focused on the experiences of six groups of farmers and ranchers (12 individuals) who had established and successfully operated a second business venture for a period of at least three years. The purpose of the study was to determine whether farm-based entrepreneurs are driven by motivations similar to those in non-farm environments and whether they progress through similar stages as they conceive an idea, make the decision to create new products or develop new markets based on the idea and then act on those decisions. Three of the subject groups were located in northeast and southeast Nebraska and three were located in southwest Montana. The qualitative information was collected using interviews and observations. ^ It was discovered that farm-based entrepreneurs exhibited personal characteristics, made decisions, and adapted to their changing environments in ways similar to those of entrepreneurs in more urban areas. Given the similarities it can be assumed that farm-based entrepreneurs would benefit from support services that provide marketing, financial management, and planning help, which is the first recommendation arising from this study. ^ The rural environments in which the participants operated presented some marketing challenges that, if addressed by community-organizations or local colleges and universities, would not only promote success among farm-based businesses but also strengthen the economic base of a particular location. Therefore, the second recommendation indicated by this study is that successful programs designed to support small businesses in other parts of the country could be identified and adapted for use in rural communities using existing resources. ^ A third recommendation is the need for existing service organizations to focus on more effective information delivery, as many of the participants, especially those in Montana, rarely used established organizations for help. It was discovered that they were either not aware of the services available or saw no value in them. ^ Fourth, attention should be paid to understanding how entrepreneurs learn and meld acquired knowledge into their ongoing operations. Toward this end a business process model was proposed that, if validated by further study, could be used as a guide for community-based support service interventions and training.^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management|Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Agricultural

Recommended Citation

Knopik, Margareta Smith, "Entrepreneurship among farmers and ranchers: A collective case study of idea generation and the subsequent decisions and actions exhibited by farmers and ranchers in Nebraska and Montana relating to secondary business ventures" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3237053.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3237053

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