Leonhardt, Heidi, Michael Braito, & Reinhard Uehleke (2021, June). Combining the best of two methodological worlds? Integrating Q methodology‑based farmer archetypes in a quantitative model of agri‑environmental scheme uptake. Agriculture and Human Values. (Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-021-10242-w) (Open Access: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-021-10242-w)

Abstract: Increasing farmers’ acceptance and adoption of environmentally beneficial farming practices is essential for mitigating negative impacts of agriculture. To support adoption through policy, it is necessary to understand which types of farms or farmers do or do not (yet) apply such practices. However, farmers are not a homogeneous group and their behavior is subject to a complex array of structural, socioeconomic, and socio-psychological influences. Reducing this complexity, farmer typologies or archetypes are useful tools for understanding differing motivations for the uptake of sustainable farming practices. Previous investigations of the role of farmer archetypes in the adoption of such practices rely on either purely qualitative or purely quantitative methods in data collection, typology creation, and hypothesis testing. Our study combines both approaches by classifying survey respondents into farmer types based on a previous Q methodological study. We then use these types in a two-part regression model that aims to explain participation in agri-environmental schemes (AES) and the level of scheme participation. To control for farm structural factors, we additionally link our questionnaire data to secondary data from the farm accountancy data network. Results indicate that in Austria, AES are attractive to all types of farmers, but the level of participation (AES income per hectare) in these schemes differs between archetypes: Profitability-oriented farmers participate less, and nature-oriented farmers participate more than other types. This suggests that monetary compensations for sustainable farming practices are not perceived as sufficient by certain groups of farmers, and policy makers need to consider additional kinds of incentives.

Heidi Leonhardt <heidi.leonhardt@boku.ac.at> is in the Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Wien, Austria.