Agricultural systems face variety of challenges, preventing the systems to produce affordable food, and secure incomes, employments, rural development, healthy soils, biodiversity, etc. Sustainability, including economic-, environmental- and social outcomes, and resilience enabling the systems to cope and respond to the challenges, are required performances for securing the continuation of the agricultural activity. In that regard, the farm-level decision making and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) play a key role.
My research focuses on analysing the farm performance and the role of the CAP to shape the farm performance. Empirical applications include both crop and livestock production. One part of the research is based on quantitative, econometric approaches and provides a basis for understanding how farmers’ decisions to apply profit-orientated, eco- and socio-friendly practices affect the need of the farm- resources and output, thereby the farm performance.
Selected studies of own research, estimate, and show how the economic- and the ecological farm performance expressed in viability, economic and eco-efficiency is linked with, e.g. applied diversification strategies, improved animal welfare, crop-diversity and the past CAP reforms. The research results help for more successful targeting of policy measures. Another set of studies applies qualitative methods, such as narrative and discourse analysis, and the research focuses on policy design. That research evaluates the: i) potential of the CAP, and ii) “fit” between the CAP and the farming practices and processes to enable resilient and sustainable farming systems.
From a perspective of a researcher, and a policy analyst interested in building the performance of the agricultural systems, I will emphasise the following:
- Research on performance measurement of agricultural systems is applied, inspired from the practice and intended to serve for reaching societal goals. The performance of the agricultural systems required in the past does not meet the challenges we are facing today. Hence, the ways the farm performance is measured and the interventions provided by the CAP to support the agricultural systems are constantly developing.
- The research contribution in building the performance of the agricultural systems benefits from multi-disciplinary approaches, applying quantitative and qualitative methods, and using both secondary- and primary data (from surveys, focus groups, participatory approaches with farmers’ and other stakeholders). Stakeholders’ involvement is becoming a common way for problems definition, validating the research results, and closing the gaps between the “research production and research use,” i.e. for transferring the research findings into the practice.
- Selection of suggestions for future research: i) development of integrated sustainability and resilience performance indicators; ii) climate change to be considered along with the remaining sustainability outcomes; iii) innovative design and communication of future policy measures, to gain farmer’s interest for public support. The research will contribute with knowledge for the implementation of Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) 2 – zero hunger, SDG 12 – responsible consumption and production, SDG 13 – climate action and SDG 15 – life on land.