The impact of neoliberalism on New Zealand farmers: changing what it means to be a 'good farmer'
Hunt, Lesley; Rosin, Chris; Campbell, Hugh; Fairweather, John
A recent part of the transdisciplinary study of New Zealand farming carried out by social scientists from the Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS) was a retrospective interview of all ARGOS sheep/beef, dairy and high country farmers and kiwifruit orchardists. In this interview their responses to 'shocks' over the past forty years was explored in order to examine farmer resilience and pathways to sustainability. What was apparent was how the 'good farming' model followed by New Zealand farmers and orchardists had expanded to include the notion that it was culturally acceptable to think of farming as a business. This change, which could be attributed to the influence of the environment of neoliberalism in the policies of the New Zealand government since the 1980s, allowed farmers and orchardists to think of themselves and their role in new ways that provided unexpected and exciting possibilities for the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural and horticultural sectors in New Zealand. This paper describes some of the unexpected consequences of Government policy, showing how long it can take for policy to result in identity change and how closely identity is linked to practice.
Rights Statement: ©2014 Charles Sturt University
Keywords: 'good farming'; neoliberalism; business sustainability; resilience; ARGOS; New Zealand
Research Type: Journal Article