1. Intro

It is a farm of 103 hectares of olive trees and 7 hectares of grain. Previous to succession, Rafael had managed the business as administrator and technical manager for ten years. His mother transferred the farm to him so that now he is the owner-operator. His business is an example of efficient use of resources and profitability maximization, with rational and technical management of his crops.

2. Promoter Profile

Name Rafael Linares Rojas
Age 51
Gender M
Education Rafael is a Biologist from the University of Granada. He served as an expert in agricultural pest management as a technician at the Regulatory Council of Sierra Mágina. He is an expert in the tasting and production of quality olive oils, and has completed multiple agricultural management courses related to his sector on agricultural business management, soil management, pruning, plant nutrition, pests and diseases, marketing, etc.
Marital status Married
Number of children 2 children: 19 and 17 years old

3. Farm Profile

Address Baños de la Encina, Jaén
Farm Area in ha 110 ha
Date since when the family owns the farm 1939
Nº of workers on the farm (Family members) 1 (Full time) 12 (Part time)
Nº of workers on the farm (Other than family members) 0 (Full time) 1 (Part time)

Farm description before succession

Originally it was a large property divided among seven heirs, when his family took the farm it was a little run down because of poor management. In some cases necessary treatements for plant nutrition and pest and disease control were not done at the appropriate time, rather, everything was done by calendar. The pruning was done inappropriate, without knowledge of how it affected the olive trees, which in some cases had negative effects on the blooms.


Many of the improvements introduced emerged from Rafael´s training and the experience he gained from working on an oil regulatory council, a body that controls the quality levels of the designation of origin for a producer region. The first modifications made were the establishment of technical control of pests and diseases, and a move from tillage to non-tillage, which helped to reduce harvest costs (one of the largest costs). With other farmers, they founded a society to share equipment that allowed them a very important degree of mechanization. The most important thing was to do each job in due course, knowing why things were done. Under his ownership, production has tripled compared to before the succession. The future challenge is to develop marketing lines to generate added value to the quality product they already produce as farmers.

4. Succession Process

The farm belonged to his mother, and Rafael began to manage the farm while working at the oil regulatory council. During this time he started to introduce changes. His first move was to replace the person in charge, as he was opposed to the introduction of new techniques. Improvements were gradually introduced. He increased his dedication to the farm, and subsequently, crops improved and yields increased. His mother gave him the power to make all decisions, and - after some years - the decision was made to conclude the succession process and allow him to transition from manager to entrepreneur. Within the family, this step was expected, because other family members were not linked to agricultural activity, but they were aware of the effort and improvements Rafael had achieved. The process has been excellent with a high degree of satisfaction for all.


Innovation in this sector is difficult because of the aversion to change among many farmers, who are still thinking about what their grandparents were doing instead of what their children will do. In this sense, the regeneration of the sector with more open minds is positive.

Because producing olive oil of higher quality grades does not always yield enough of a price increase to offset the associated loss in quantity produced, the great challenge is marketing, integrating the entire value chain.

Pests and diseases are a risk to the maintaining profitability and productive capacity over time as well as to the potential for producing high quality products.

Another challenge is mechanization, which is very difficult in certain areas with high slopes, thus it is necessary to avoid purchasing more equipment than your farm requires or than actually be used given the natural land characteristics

Main Training/Skills/Competences

Plant Health for pest and disease control.


Obtaining quality products involves introducing practical adaptations to achieve that quality.


Management skills, subsidies, regulations, etc.


Capacity for teamwork.


Ability to innovate in order to differentiate oneself from competitors.


“Training, dedication, interest and desire. Put your knowledge and what you have learned into practice. If you believe in your project, you get training. Do things at the right time and use what is necessary. Search for advice from professionals or experienced people.”


5. Considerations, skills/competences and queries/questions.