Pereira, Mariana A., John R. Fairweather, Keith B. Woodford, & Peter L. Nuthall (2016, April). Assessing the diversity of values and goals amongst Brazilian commercial-scale progressive beef farmers using Q-methodology. Agricultural Systems, 144, 1-8.

Abstract: This paper analyses the diversity of goals and values amongst 26 Brazilian commercial-scale beef farmers previously identified as exhibiting progressive technology adoption behaviours, and considers the implications for the agricultural innovation system (AIS). Following the Q-methodology guidelines, four main sets of goals and values were identified and labelled: the Professional Farmer (PF), the Committed Environmentalist (CE), the Profit Maximiser (PM) and the Aspirant Top Farmer (ATF). All farmer types believed in operating the farm as a business and agreed with the notion that cattle production and nature conservation are compatible. The PF aimed to run the farm professionally, based on sound technical and managerial practices. The CE put a particularly strong emphasis on the long-term sustainability of the farming system. The PM focused on technical issues to pursue economic returns and efficiency, thereby also creating space for lifestyle objectives. The ATF sought physical farm and livestock excellence, was growth oriented, and sought recognition by peers. These four typologies have implications for the farmers’ technology adoption and its promotion, e.g. they are likely to influence the uptake of particular types of innovations, and reinforce the importance of considering AIS within a social systems framework. This is the first Q-methodology study to demonstrate considerable diversity of values and goals within a subset of technology-adopting progressive farmers, with implications within agricultural innovation systems for the integration of goal diversity and adoption theory.

Mariana A Pereira <mariana.pereira@embrapa.br> is affiliated with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa Beef Cattle, Ministry of Agriculture), Brasilia, Brazil.

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