Livestock Research for Rural Development 30 (10) 2018 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

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Succession models on smallholder dairy farms in Indonesia

A Firman, L Budimulati, M Paturochman and M Munandar

Faculty of Animal Husbandry, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia


The process of family farm succession determines the sustainability of the family farming business. The family farm succession has become an important issue in developed countries since the 1990s. The decline in the number of farmers is predicted because it implies the number of young people working in agriculture is a down. This study purposes to find the socialization process in the context of family farm succession and the succession models that have been taken place in the study location. Informal interviews and forum-group discussions have been conducted during March to April 2018 with farmers, farmer’s organization, and the top management of cooperative (KPBS). This study used exploratory study that reveals some early findings related with socialization process and the succession models.

Three succession models have taken place amoung generations in Pangalengan area, such as independent model, parent’s facilitation model, and parent’s grant model. It can be concluded that primary socialization is a pivotal point in the process of family farm succession because the participation of young generation in the dairy farmily farm will give a good impression of it.

Key words: family farming, young generation


Farm succession has been discussed and being a serious issue by scholar since 1990s in developed countries and transition countries that face structural change (Bohak and Borec 2009). Migration from village to city area and the emerging industry are key factors related to economic development and structural change (Lucas 2004; Lobley et al 2010). The discussion has been focused on the expansion of industry including corporate farming that offered wage increases faster and more securely than agricultural income (Hennessy 2002; Lobley et al 2010). This situation influenced young generation in order to be more interested in working at industry than agriculture sector because of profitable activity. The derivative impact on it causes the number of farmers has declined. In Irish, the number of farmer who have age less than 35 years has decreased by 25% in 1992 to 1999 because of the emerging industry (Hennessy 2002). It indicates that participation of young people in farming is a down.

Family farm succession is a complex process, which involves the process forms the transition between two stages, parents are the owners in the first stage and then the second stage is the ownership may be in the hands of their children (Borec et al 2013). The process need over a long, or short time period. Therefore, family farm succession is a pivotal point to sustainable farm agriculture and regenerate principle farmers (Lobley et al 2010). In general, family have not yet prepared to make a retire planning, even the family who has a large farm scale, asset, or ownership. According to Baker et al (2001), there was 27% of the farmers interviewed in Iowa State did not plan to retire, and 71% of farmers (at an average age of 66) had a retire planning but had not yet identified their successors. Meanwhile, Australian farmers are apparently planning to move into semi-retirement at around the age of 65 years and full-retirement at 70 years or older (Barclay et al 2007 cited by Hicks et al 2012). It determines that the principal farmers will control and transfer the farm to young farmers until their full-retirements.

The farm succession has been a global issue, including in Indonesia. The Indonesia Statistic Bureau reported that number of workforces who work in agriculture sector is noted approximately 36 million people in August 2017 whereas in August 2010 the number of farmers was around 41.5 million people, which means that the declining of farmers reached 15.5% in seven years. The situation is similar with developed countries where working at industry for young people is more interesting than agriculture sector. Many young people from countryside migrate to the city to find profitable activities (Wiyono et al 2015). It means that many older farmers stay in villages. Young generations leave their villages because there are no good incentives working at agriculture field, such as unpredictable climate and agricultural production, need several time to produce, low price commodity, and not prestigious job. Farm succession is being a serious problem in Indonesia, especially in dairy farm.

The historical dairy farm has started since 1880 in Indonesia when the colonial introduced dairy cattle in area that has a suitable place for keeping dairy, especially Frisian Holstein. At that time, the dairy farm was to supply milk for foreigners who work for colonial government and an army actually. Nowadays, dairy farm is a famous commodity to work on it and the number of farmers still rely on milk-producing activity for their livelihood (Daud et al 2015). This means that the existence of dairy farm has developed for 138 years. It indicates that there is an intergenerational succession on dairy farms. In general, smallholder farmers who have one to five cows dominate the typical dairy farm business in Indonesia. They are also have only limited land, simple pen (semi-permanent), and traditional equipment to keep dairy. The type of farms is unlike developed countries that household farmers have amount of cows, large land and assets. This situation will influence the type of farm succession.

The researches of farm succession on smallholder dairy are very limited in Indonesia. Therefore, this study aims to find the socialization process in the context of family farm succession and identify succession models that might exist as part of the way of life of dairy farmers from one generation to the next. The purposes are preliminary stage in building a sustainable dairy farm through successor. Our intension is also to seek out the way of model implementation of among farmers.

Conceptual framework

The term of succession or regeneration has been a famous word in biological and ecological science. Succession is rejuvenation or replacing old generation by a new generation. Regeneration is a process that requires time and physical replacement of the previous generation by a new generation. Regeneration is a self-generating system to replace those that have been damaged or no longer functioning through processes that take place within the system network (Capra 2002). Therefore, regeneration becomes an important keyword in the sustainability of life.

Succession in the agricultural context is emphasized more on replacing old farmers by young farmers or can be mentioned as a farm succession. Farm succession is the process whereby the abilities, traditions and capital of farming are transferred from one generation to the next (Bohak and Borec 2009). Farm succession is not an event that occurs at a certain point in time, but a process that occurs over time, influenced by various factors and circumstances, a good succession planning must be sustainable, starting when family members learn agricultural practices and become involved in family farm (Kerbler 2012). According to the definition, there is no simple process in the context of farm succession but the process is very complex and not only economic factors involved in the process but also others. Therefore, farm succession has become an important issue for family farms, scholars, and policy makers. The crutial point of family farm succession is a socialization process. During socialization, successor will receives a detailed farm working, the farming lifestyle, a direct experience, and knowledge transfer (Kerbler 2012). At the same time, the sosialization process will drive successor develops respect for all of this, especially for the land as a primary resource for making a living on the farm. Socialization is divided into two patterns, such as primary socialization and secondary socialization (Garcia et al 2002). Primary socialization is defined the acquisition of knowledge and values, learning the rules of behavior, norms and beliefs that can be treated at early ages (Garcia et al 2002 cited by Posso and Urbano 2017; Crisogen 2015). Usually, this path occurs during the first part of chilhood and takes place in the family environment. Secondary socialization refers to the acquisition of knowledge, norms, and values when children are in/out of family environment with integration into various group structure and wider institutional, such as religion institution, educational institutional, neighbour environment, and the media (Crisogen 2015; Passo and Urbano 2017; Lubbers et al 2009).

Succession on family farm must be paid more attention because it is a key factor of farm’s existence and development. Family farm succession is a process transfer of knowledge, labour, skills, management and control, ownership of the family farm business or intangible assets from the retiring or old generation to the next or young generation, that occurs over a long or short duration of time (Fennell 1981 cited by Bohak and Borec 2009; Lobley 2010). Succession on family farm is possible to occur intergenerational. According to Laband and Lantz (1983 cited by Kerbler 2012), the family farms succession is five times more frequent than in other businesses and it represents the best example of the intergenerational transfer of physical and human capital. However, the major problems of the family farm succession is successor itself. The number of successors who would take over and operate the farm has declined (Kerbler 2012).

Regarding the reduction of successors in agriculture, it can be correlated with neo-classical economic theory. The theory suggests that individuals are profit maximizers and will always endeavour to find the most profitable activities (Hennessy 2002). Working at industry is more interesting than in agriculture. According to Perloff (1991 cited by Hennessy 2002) claims that the successor’s decision to enter farming is based on wage differential expectations. The statement is supported by Gale (1993 cited by Hennessy 2002) states that the trend toward fewer participants in farming is caused by improvement or deterioration of income prospects in farming relative to other sectors. Modernization in various fields (education, communication) has influenced the successor’s perception of working at agriculture sector (Yogaswara 2015). White (2012 cited by Ambarwati 2016) explains that there are three major problems that successors are not interested in agriculture area, those are: (1) image declining of working at agriculture, (2) ignoring smallholder producers in Government policy, and (3) a limited accessibility of successor to the farm land due to land conversion and ownership transfer. All factors above drive successor to migrate from rural to urban or to a non-farm job.

However, not all young farmers argue that there is no good incentive working in agriculture. Successors will work in agriculture due to like the independence of being their own boss and the accountability of running their own business (Herrmann and Uttitz 1990 cited by Hennessey 2002). It could be said that successors will find a chances to get a profit maximizing during running their business, including in agriculture area. Other reasons that influence successors in farm are emotionally bound to parents, homes and the environment, and agriculture gives an important role in their lives (Blanc and Cornet 1993). Therefore, it is clear that young people choose to become farmers and manage family farm for a number of different reasons and not all are economic based (Hennessy 2002).

In developed countries, there are two terms related with the context of family farm succession or inheritance of agriculture business, such as farm takeover and farm transfer/handover (Kerbler 2012; Bohac and Borec 2010). The average of farm size in developed countries are different with developing countries, including in Indonesia. The farms are dominated by small scale producers which operate three to five cows per farmer (DGLH 2011 cited by Daud et al 2015). The prediction of inheritance of dairy farm pattern will be different with large scale farmers, especially in developed countries.

Overview of dairy farm operation

In general, dairy farms are controlled and managed by family. Almost all family members, at least father, mother and son, participate in the farm. There are three stages of keeping dairy in Indonesia (Figure 1), first stage, father prepare for milking dairy, such as cleaning pen and washing cows early in the morning, meanwhile mother cook water to get warm water for milking. Then, father does milking cows one by one using hand method in the next stage. In general, the milking time spends five to seven minutes per cows. Some milk that produced by farmer are put in the milkcan. At 6 a.m, father delivers fresh milk to the milk collecting point that prepared by cooperative (namely KPBS), meanwhile mother has a job to feed cows after milking.

Figure 1. The cycles of keeping dairy and milk supply in smallholder producers

Forage is very important feed for ruminants because it is like a staple food. One of major problems that must face smallholder farmers is forage itself. Farmers have a limited land to plant King Grass (one of forage species) for dairy cows. Because of limited land, farmers must find forage out of farm area. Sometimes, his son participate to help father to find and cut the forage after school. If there is no field grass, they must pay for bulk of forage. Usually, farmers find and cut the forage for one-day stock only and therefore they spend three to four hours for this activity. Concentrate feed is supplied by cooperative. After forage activity, farmers prepare for the next milking. The same as activities in the morning, such as cleaning pen, washing and milking cows. Father deliver fresh milk, meanwhile mother or his son has a job to feed cows after milking. Those are about the cycles of keeping dairy in smallholder farmers in Indonesia.


This study uses exploratory research because the study is used to explore the family farm succession in Indonesia, especially in dairy farming. The study related with family farm succession is very limited, therefore it will be the first information to the next research. To support this study, we observed a case in Pangalengan – Bandung. This area is well known as one of the centers for developing dairy cattle in Indonesia. In addition, this location is also known as the first place for imported milk from colonialism since 1880.

The existence of keeping dairy is a part of farmer life. Keeping dairy is being a livelihood for smallholder producers, including in Pangalengan. Currently, there are 13,127 heads of dairy cow that owned by 4,566 traditional farmers. Approximately more than 80% of farmers are one to five heads of dairy ownership. All farmers are noted as cooperative members (KPBS) that provide input production services (such as feed concentrate, artificial insemination, and animal health), and marketing channels for members. The average of milk production in this area is almost 80 tons per day that distributed to two milk processors/manufactures.

To collect data, we conducted field visit and informal interview with farmers representing five of 23 farmers group and three of five chairpersons representing the top-level management of KPBS at the period of March to April 2018. In five farmers group, 30 informers and also one of his/her son/daughter who have various heads of dairy cow ownership were given in the questions at first. Substantially, the questions were focused on socialization process and the implementation model of family farm succession. The same questions were asked to the three chairpersons of KPBS and how the institution supports young farmers to be dairy farmers.


Socialization process of family farm succession in smallholder dairy farm

The succession process that occurs from farmers to children cannot be separated with the socialization process. In the context of family farm succesion, socialization is the process of transferring value, norm, philosophy, belief, knowledge and skill, and behavior, a direct or indirect transfer from parents to successor. This is a good preservation for a potential succession to receive the pattern of parents in managing of dairy farm. According to Hribernik (1993 cited by Kerbler 2012), the same social system reproduces itself especially if traditional agricultural societies have poor internal social distinction and if the system dominates the present and the future, continually reproduces itself in the process of socialization, and farming culture is inherited from generation to generation. In this research, there are five transfers of socialization process, such as transferring value, history of dairy farm, knowledge, dairy farming assets, and belief.

Transferring the value of family dairy farming means that livestock contributes to the family and becomes a livelihood for most farmers in Pangalengan. Transferring the history of family dairy farms is how parents / environment tell the story of the family's dairy cattle heritage to their children. Transferring knowledge means that parents/environment transfers directly or indirectly knowledge about dairy farming. Direct transfers are parents/environment teaching and asissting their children directly how to maintain dairy cows, while indirect transfers are parents/environment involving their children in managing dairy cows without teaching directly. Children only participate and follow what their parents/environment do from day to day. Transfer of milk assets means there are some assets transfer after the parent decides to retire or stop for some reasons in the dairy farming. Transferring belief means that dairy farming is still an attractive business for the future.

Table 1 illustrates the socialization process on dairy farmers in Pangalengan. Based on the table, there are five variables of socialization process. In the phase of primary socialization, parents have done transferring four variables to their children except dairy farming assets transfer. In this case, farmers rare transfer on dairy farming assets to their children who would be a successor due to the limitation on land and cows. In the process of socialization, parents will transfer directly or indirectly value to their children. The value of family dairy farms is. The transferring value in socialization period is crusial time for successor for encouraging his personality and attitudes to the family and farm life (Gasson and Errington 1993 cited by Borec et al 2013).

Table 1. Socialization process of family farm succession



Secondary socialization



Transferring value


Transferring history of dairy farm


Transferring knowledge


Transferring on dairy farming assets




Transferring belief



Source: own data Note: √ = done; X = have not done yet

In the secondary socialization phase, neighbour has done three transferring variables, except transferring on dairy farming assets, and belief on the dairy farming is still an attractive job for the future. Neighbour support young people to be a successor by the transfer process. However, neighbour has never explained transferring on dairy farming assets when children play in the neighbour environment because it will be a family scope. Besides, neighbour could not influence young people that the dairy farming is an attractive job for the future because they have various views in this job. This finding indicates that neighbour is not able to convince young people to work on dairy farming. Table 1 also shows that the opposite conditions are displayed in educational institutions. According to informants, the education environment has not supported young people to become agricultural substitutes yet. Most informants said that there were no lessons to learn about dairy farming in schools. According to Ambarwati (2016) said that the education system tends to describe that the agricultural sector is not an attractive business or work. The description is conveyed to school-age children that the agricultural sector is not a strategic sector that drives the national economy. This fact indicates that the education system has the opposite side to encourage young people to become a farm successor.

Therefore, information on the above reveals that traditional farmers has implemented all variables (except transferring dairy assets) since their children were in primary socialization. Meanwhile the education system has not supported yet young generation to become a dairy farmer.

Succession model on smallholder dairy farmers

The result research shows that there are five typical model on family dairy succession. Those are independent model; parent’s facilitation model; parent’s grant model; transferring model; and inheritance model (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Succession models on smallholder dairy farming in Pangalengan area
Independent model

This model was built by the successor himself. The successor works outside the dairy farm and Pangalengan area before he works in the fields because he needs new experience, attractive activities, and a new place to work. His successor went back to the Pangalengan area (his home) if he could not find a job or quit his job for several reasons. Because there is no work in the Pangalengan area, the young farmer decides to work on the dairy farm using the remaining capital to buy some cows. Meanwhile, parents facilitate land for pens and support their successors to join KPBS members to get some services

Parent’s facilitation model

Most dairy farmers are small producers. They have limited land and several cows (mostly one to five), therefore they cannot transfer the assets of dairy farms to potential successor (one of their children). With this situation, farmer create the succession model for potential successors to work on dairy farming. Farmer proposes to get a cow loan from the KPBS and prepare a pen for a new cow that will be managed by a successor. In general, a potential successor is his son who does not have a job after secondary school graduation in for a long time (> 4 years after graduation). Farmer also assits his son to join KPBS member to get some services. Meanwhile, successor must repay the the debt of the dairy cow to the cooperative through milk production. This is one proof of the seriousness of the child in the dairy cow business.

Parent’s grant model

This model model tends to occur in dairy farmers who have cows more than 25 heads. Farmer gives or grants some cows and lands to be managed by a potential successor. Farmer guide the successor how to manage dairy cattle business even though the successor has been involved in the family dairy business during the socialization process. Famer also facilitates a young farmer to join KPBS member to get some services.

Transferring model

The succession model of transferring/handovering dairy farming assets is very rare in Pangalengan area. This model occurs if the farmer is no longer able to work on the fields for several reasons such as illness. First child will take over the family dairy farms to continue the business. The business is very important to be sustained because it is a family livelihood.

Inheritance model

The model is also very rare in Pangalengan area. In general, inheritance occurs when parents (father or mother) have died. All inheritance stuffs in the form of houses, dairy cattle assets, and land are divided according to Islamic law to their children. Children who get some capital from the proceeds of the distribution of inherited goods will use the capital as venture capital for dairy farming.


Based on the description above, the socialization process is an important recommendation in the context of the succession of dairy cattle business in Pangalengan area. The involvement of children in the dairy cow business can give a deep impression of the dairy business in the future. This impression is built in the phase of primary socialization. This situation can be proved by the many young generation who return to their homes and establish a dairy business independently. Therefore, it is important to be implemented by parents in order to build the sustainability of the family dairy business, which involves children in the family dairy business.

So far, the succession model that main purpose of this study has been identified. There are five succession models can be found in the study area. The models are more influenced by the capital from which it is obtained. Mostly, the models that implemented in the study area are independent model, parent’s facilitation model, and parent’s grant model. These models have been implemented from generation to generation and have become indigeous models in the study area. Besides, the entire model is an integral part of the sustainability of the dairy cattle business in Pangalengan area.



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Received 13 September 2018; Accepted 13 September 2018; Published 1 October 2018

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