; Best Practices in Extension Risk Management Programming for Social Entrepreneurs | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Best Practices in Extension Risk Management Programming for Social Entrepreneurs

Doolarie Singh-Knights, Brandy Brabham, Jodi Richmond, Daisy Bailey, Alexandria Straight, and Karen Coxs


Social entrepreneurship is gaining much traction in the US through the ‘good food movement’. This emerging business model is based on the premise of ‘creating economic value by creating social value’. Many farms are a form of social entrepreneurship, with producers involved in creating a variety of new food-related ventures, hoping to fulfill the dual objectives of making money while improving the food system through education, community-building, and food security. This development has created a blurring between profit motives and social goals, and has challenged the status quo of extension programming for the food system. Despite the philanthropic nature of such ventures, these farms face traditional risk management issues of farm profitability and farm sustainability.

Extension risk management programming has been largely reactive to the surge in social entrepreneurs. Producers and educators alike are pointing to the need for diverse and multi-functional extension risk management programs that create a more proactive educational model that helps social entrepreneurs meet both financial and social missions, and embrace the principles of lean and agile management.

This presentation highlights findings of a WV producer survey that examines differences and similarities between socially-oriented and market-oriented farms in terms of farm and farmer characteristics, farm viability and profitability, quality of life, and future outlook; and identifies unique challenges and risk management training needs faced by these farms given their varying missions. We conclude with recommendations based on our experience for how extension risk-management programs may be developed or modified to more effectively service this valuable clientele.