Preliminary Focus Group Study: Australian Farmer Attitude to On-farm Risk Management and Insurance

Three focus group workshops were conducted in June 2014 across Australia, in order to assess farmer attitude to managing risk on-farm, and the role of current insurance products for agriculture. The focus group workshop research proved to be a worthwhile exercise in firstly engaging with farmers and exploring their ideas and attitudes towards risk, and secondly to gain an insight into how they manage risk on-farm as professional operators and business managers. Overall, it is apparent that those farmers that were involved in the workshops were very good operators, from the perspectives of being able to grow profitable crops, and secondly being able to manage their respective farm businesses. Critical to the success of their operations is how they manage risk. It has been demonstrated that as farmers, they are faced with a wide range of risks in their operations and their businesses. Whilst Australian farmers receive little government support (in terms of the absence of guaranteed prices received at harvest, subsidised crop inputs), they have largely had to compete on global trading market platforms on their own. The size of Australia’s population means that the Australian Government simply can’t afford to subsidise farmers be it for crop production inputs, guaranteed prices at harvest, or for multi-peril crop insurance.

Jay Cummins, IAFD
Ashley Lipman, IAFD
Heather Feetham, IAFD