Farmers worldwide face an increasingly turbulent environment. Successful farmers are those that adapt to shifts in the environment to capture the opportunities from such disturbance and outperform those who do not adapt. Such farmers, the literature would suggest, are entrepreneurs, catalysts for change with a risk-taking propensity. The paper presents analysis of farmers grouped with respect to their attitude to risk. It identifies that those farmers that are risk seekers would be more accurately described as gamblers based on their performance over six years of volatility. The most successful group of farmers were risk neutral, had a strong business focus and skills, managing quite high levels of debt to good effect. They had a positive attitude to change and an ability to successfully adapt to changing conditions so best fit the broader definition of entrepreneur. The risk averse group carried less debt and also outperformed the risk seeking group with strong cash results and retained earnings. Farmers cannot be assumed to be successful catalysts for change just from their attitude to risk and a belief in their ability to manage risk; instead they are those whose results prove that they are successfully taking risks, have strong business skills and run efficient farm businesses.
International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 2016, 19 (2), pp. 33 - 52