Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Economic and climate changes, combined with changing government regulations, are altering the strategic business model for small farm operators and necessitating their reliance on multiple income sources to maintain financial viability. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the strategies of 3 small farming businesses in California's San Joaquin Valley that successfully implemented value-added products which contributed to their financial sustainability. Data from semistructured interviews and relevant documents were analyzed through the lens of system theory, utilizing in vivo coding to identify patterns and themes. Three high-level themes emerged: knowledge, marketing, and networking. The theme of knowledge reflects the value of pre-existing and new knowledge. The theme of marketing reflects 3 key areas including differentiation of value-added products, customer experience, and the value of word of mouth and social media marketing. The networking theme reflects the value of professional and community networking and connecting with family and friends. The findings of this case study may have implications for positive social and economic change. Farmers who sustain their operations and remain financially viable contribute to the local economy, provide continuing knowledge of agricultural practices to future generations, and contribute to the stability of available food. Providing information on successful value-added strategies used by a group of small farm operators may assist other owners of small farms looking to add value-added products and increase farm income. Doing so could lead to increased employment and a stronger local tax base.