Farmers’ attitudes about farming and the environment: A survey of conventional and organic farmers

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics (Impact Factor: 1.3). 01/1996; 9(2):123-143. DOI: 10.1007/BF03055298

ABSTRACT Farmers have been characterized as people whose ties to the land have given them a deep awareness of natural cycles, appreciation
for natural beauty and sense of responsibility as stewards. At the same time, their relationship to the land has been characterized
as more utilitarian than that of others who are less directly dependent on its bounty. This paper explores this tension by
comparing the attitudes and beliefs of a group of conventional farmers to those of a group of organic farmers. It was found
that while both groups reject the idea that a farmer’s role is to conquer nature, organic farmers were significantly more
supportive of the notion that humans should live in harmony with nature. Organic farmers also reported a greater awareness
of and appreciation for nature in their relationship with the land. Both groups view independence as a main benefit of farming
and a lack of financial reward as its main drawback. Overall, conventional farmers report more stress in their lives although
they also view themselves in a caretaker role for the land more than do the organic farmers. In contrast, organic farmers
report more satisfaction with their lives, a greater concern for living ethically, and a stronger perception of community.
Finally, both groups are willing to have their rights limited (organic farmers somewhat more so) but they do not trust the
government to do so.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research on organic farmers is popular but has seldom specifically focused on their motivations and decision making. Results based on detailed interviews with 83 New Zealand farmers (both organic and conventional) are presented by way of a decision tree that highlights elimination factors, motivations, and constraints against action. The results show the reasons that lie behind farmers' choices of farming methods and highlight the diversity of motivations for organic farming, identifying different types of organic and conventional farmers. Policies to encourage organic production should focus on attitudes, technology, and finances.
    Agriculture and Human Values 01/1999; 16(1). · 1.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Land Use Policy 07/2013; 35:318-328. · 3.13 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Private landowners manage many rare species' habitats, yet research on their responses to species conservation legislation is scarce. To address this need, we examined private landowners' responses to the listing of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). We mailed a questionnaire designed to measure these responses to a sample of landowners. The adjusted response rate was 46% (n =379). The questionnaire asked landowners whether they had managed their land to improve the Preble's habitat and to minimize the chance of the Preble's living on it. We also asked whether landowners had or would allow a survey for the Preble's on their property. We hypothesized that landowners would respond to these questions based on their aesthetic preferences, economic concerns, information sources, parcel size, personal values, recreation activities, residence status, social influences, and other factors. Listing the Preble's under the ESA does not appear to have enhanced its survival prospects on private land. In terms of hectares owned, for example, the efforts of landowners who reported they had sought to help the Preble's (25%) were canceled out by the efforts of those who sought to harm it (26%). Moreover, the majority of respondents had not or would not allow a biological survey (56%), thus preventing the collection of data for conserving the species. All eight hypothesized determinants significantly predicted responses to the listing when they were considered individually. When considered simultaneously, however, only one economic consideration (dependence on agriculture), recreation activity (consumptive), and social factor (distrusting government), and select information sources (conservation and social), and personal values (valuing nature, valuing local control, and denying landowner responsibility) remained direct determinants. To promote the conservation of rare species by private landowners, we recommend communicating information through social networks, alleviating landowners' economic concerns, increasing use of collaborative processes, and institutionalizing assurances that landowners will not be harmed by managing their land to help rare species.
    Conservation Biology 01/2003; 17(6):1638-1649. · 4.36 Impact Factor


Available from
May 28, 2014