Scope of the online library

The OpenFields content has now been migrated to its successor website, Food and Farming Futures


Resources which may help rural business professionals and others working in the agri-food sector to address business issues such as:

  • Business startup - validating, assessing and developing ideas or business concepts and their commercial potential; investigating options for funding.
    • A good business idea could be an invention, a new product or service, or an original idea or solution to an everyday problem. It might also be:
      • a gap in the market that you can fill
      • a business related to the work you do already
      • an interest or hobby that you can turn into a business
    • Whatever your idea is, you need to be sure that it fits with your needs as an individual, as well as being a viable business proposition.
  • Business co-operative - cooperatives, collaboratives and the principles of working collectively.
    • A co-operative is where a number of individuals or businesses work together to achieve a common purpose. They are normally formed so that individuals and small businesses can benefit from being part of a larger group, which gives them more power to buy or bargain.
    • There are three main types of co-operatives:
      • Retail co-operatives
      • Marketing or trader co-operatives
      • Worker co-operatives
  • Marketing and product development - identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.
    • Marketing fulfils two important roles in an organisation - determining the market requirements for a new (or revised product), and actually selling that product. There is, however, no point developing a product, no matter how well engineered, if there is no market for it. 
  • Economics and finance - responsibility for the economic and financial well-being of a company involves knowledge of the theoretical and applied aspects of business economics, corporate finance, and financial risk management, at least with a UK perspective, and possibly European or international. The scope of this subject area includes:
    • how commodities markets work,
    • how markets in financial assets operate,
    • why and how businesses raise finance,
    • business risks and investment management.
  • Farm management - 
    • Farm and agri-business management is a professional discipline which concerns the description, construction, analysis and evaluation of farm systems, making the best use of service providers, and development of a set of key tasks for which there are key performance indicators to quantify their success or otherwise.
    • Farmers have access to a diversity of expertise which they can use to improve farming practices and hence profit margins.
    • To be successful, today’s farmers must be able to manage their resources to meet the challenges of varying costs, prices and climatic conditions.
    • Decision making in agri-business is based on judgements which are influenced by farmers’ beliefs as well as their economic, social and cultural values.

In the case of rural business enterprises, many of these issues are exacerbated by some aspect of the rural location, operation or delivery.

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About this National Initiative

The OpenFields Library is a free online library containing items of interest to practitioners and researchers in the agricultural and landbased industries. It is now a component part of Food and Farming Futures.