Project details

Demographic change as an opportunity for agricultural diversification

In this research project (2014 - 2015) funded by Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank, the IfLS aimed at answering the following question: How and under which circumstances can agricultural diversification make a contribution to farm income and at the same time help to provide basic goods and services in regions affected by demographic change? The objective was to derive user-oriented recommendations for farms and farming organisations as well as organisations working in regional development.

The project was carried out in two model regions: Landkreis Trier-Saarburg (Rhineland-Palatinate) and SPESSARTregional (Main-Kinzig-Kreis, Hesse). Both regions developed a regional strategy for securing public services and livelihoods between 2011 and 2013 with support by IfLS (“Modellvorhaben der Raumordnung “Aktionsprogramm regionale Daseinsvorsorge). The model regions were actively involved in the project at different stages of the research process.

The following research methods were applied:

  • research of scientific and practice-oriented literature,
  • expert interviews,
  • collection of information on diversification activities in the model regions
  • written survey of farm managers,
  • focus groups with key stakeholders from the fields of agriculture, extension services and public administration bodies as well as
  • information events for farmers.

The research results show that so far the potential of agricultural diversification in the context of demographic change has not attracted a lot of interest in science or practice. A considerable share of farmers in the model regions, however, expects demographic change to have effects on their businesses. On the other hand they expect demographic change and its consequences to open up new opportunities for income generation. The IfLS considers new ways of direct marketing, such as the distribution of products via vending machines, but also housing and care services for elderly people (so called “care-farms”) as potentially interesting forms of agricultural diversification.

Project no.: 



Research | Socio-economics of farm business |


Development Agency for Agribusiness and Rural Areas Germany


2013 - 2015

Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Jörg Schramek, Nicola von Kutzleben