Assessing farmers’ intention to adopt sustainable management practices for soil conservation across Europe

Jo Bijttebier, Greet Ruysschaert, Fleur Marchand, Renske Hijbeek, Annette Pronk, Norman Schlatter, Gema Guzm, Alina Syp, Magdalena Werner, Laura Zavattaro, Nadia Guiffant, Erwin Wauters

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingC3: Conference Abstractpeer-review


    During the past decennia, sustainable soil management practices (BMPs) have been developed in order to maintain or restore soil health which is essential to the resilience of the farm. However, the adoption practice is rather low. Amongst other reasons, the BMPs might lack on-farm compatibility, or farmer’s lack confidence in the presented measures. To increase the adoption rate of BMPs, capturing farmer’s ideas in their specific farming context can aid future strategies to implement the BMPs. Therefore, the aim of this study is to identify and compare different barriers and drivers towards the adoption of BMPs. To unravel farmer’s motivation and ability to implement a certain BMP, we applied a sequential mixed method approach based on the theory of planned behavior, a socio-psychological framework to predict human behavior (Ajzen, 1988, 1991; Wauters et al., 2013). Qualitative semi-structured interviews with farmers reveal a first indication of possible barriers and drivers. These serve as the basis for a broad quantitative survey in 25 major farm types across 8 European countries, all
    characterized by their own soil, climate, legislative and socio-economic context. Due to this context, the selected BMPs in the questionnaire differ among the major farm types, although two wide-spread practices such as cover crops and reduced and/or non-inversion tillage were questioned among almost all farm types. An EU-wide comparison between different regions allows us to better relate differences in barriers, motivators and farmers’ intention to differences in bio-physical, economic, institutional, social and regulatory conditions. To obtain a correct interpretation and clarification of the most striking results, we organize regional focus groups with experts and farmers. The results will offer valuable insights to advice EU policy, extension and scientific research. They will
    be able to take into account the specific context of the different major farm types when developing strategies to increase the adoption rate of BMPs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIFSA Book of Abstracts
    EditorsHeike Schobert, Maja-Catrin Riecher, Holger Fischer, Thomas Aenis, Andrea Knierim
    Publication date2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event11th European IFSA Symposium - Berlijn, Germany
    Duration: 1-Apr-20144-Apr-2014


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