The Financial Farmer, financial education and extension to Dutch farmers, 1890-1940
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The thesis investigates the development of financial and economic extension to Dutch farmers as a constant factor within modernising Dutch agriculture. Despite academic literature suggesting Dutch farming became agri-business after the Second World War, this thesis suggest that the effort to increase financial and economic literacy among farmers was well underway before the 1950s. Since the end of the nineteenth century, modernising agricultural practices demanded increased financial and economic knowledge of Dutch farmers as the farm increasingly was managed as a business. Lower prices resulted farmers to increasingly focus on cost-reduction instead of productivity growth. Therefore, agricultural bookkeeping and farm rationalisation became of great importance for farms to remain competitive and initiatives were taken to educate farmers on these matters. The direct effects of these interventions on proper financial behaviour were minimal. However, the thesis argues that the indirect effects on Dutch agriculture were substantial, as an infrastructure was established on which financial and economic education could further build on during the second half of the twentieth century and fostered a mentality change that increasingly perceived the farm as a business.