At a time when food producers have to make significant changes to their businesses in order to survive, a review of benchmarking in agriculture and discussion of its future potential is critical. This book meets that need by providing an overview of existing benchmarking practices in agriculture and the food supply chain, and evaluating the potential of these practices to drive sustainable innovation in food and farming. Increasing pressures from commodity markets, corporate buyers, government and rising input prices (particularly fuel prices) are creating an environment in which farmers and their advisors are keen to make greater use of performance information for survival and growth. Where farmers are diversifying into alternative production methods, non-agricultural enterprises and on-farm production and sales, the greater the interest in a wider range of accounting tools for decision making. Lisa Jack and her contributors draw on a wide range of data and sources from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Europe to provide critical evaluations of what might be considered 'state of the art' benchmarking practices at this time, including recent strategic developments such as the use of non-financial measures in balanced scorecards. The food and farming industry is unusual in that benchmarking takes place among large numbers of small, family-owned businesses working in a global industry. Not only, therefore, is this book important for those working in food supply chain businesses, but also for those involved in the general practice of benchmarking.
Dr. Lisa Jack is Senior Lecturer in Accounting at the University of Essex. Before entering academic life, she qualified as an accountant and worked as an auditor in both the private and public sectors. Teaching at an agricultural college started an interest in accounting in agriculture and food industries past and present, which now forms the basis of her current research.