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Farmers’ perceptions of climate change: identifying types

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JournalAgriculture and Human Values
DateE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2015
DatePublished (current) - 13 May 2015
Early online date13/05/15
Original languageEnglish


Ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture have been set by both national governments and their respective livestock sectors. We hypothesize that farmer self-identity influences their assessment of climate change and their willingness to im- plement measures which address the issue. Perceptions of climate change were determined from 286 beef/sheep farmers and evaluated using principal component analysis (PCA). The analysis elicits two components which evaluate identity (productivism and environmental responsibility), and two components which evaluate behavioral capacity to adopt mitigation and adaptation measures (awareness and risk perception). Subsequent Cluster Analyses reveal four farmer types based on the PCA scores. ‘The Productivist’ and ‘The Countryside Steward’ portray low levels of awareness of climate change, but differ in their motivation to adopt pro-environmental behavior. Conversely, both ‘The Environmentalist’ and ‘The Dejected’ score higher in their awareness of the issue. In addition, ‘The Dejected’ holds a high sense of perceived risk; however, their awareness is not conflated with an explicit understanding of agricultural GHG sources. With the exception of ‘The Environmentalist’, there is an evident disconnect between perceptions of agricultural emission sources and their contribution towards GHG emissions amongst all types. If such linkages are not con- ceptualized, it is unlikely that behavioral capacities will be realized. Effective communication channels which encour- age action should target farmers based on the groupings depicted. Therefore, understanding farmer types through the constructs used in this study can facilitate effective and tai- lored policy development and implementation.

Bibliographical note

(c) Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015. This is an author produced version of a paper accepted for publication in Agriculture and Human Values . Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.

    Research areas

  • Environmental Impact, Farmer Engagement, LIVESTOCK, Red Meat, Sustainable Intensification

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