What motivates farmers to participate in the Nova Scotia environmental farm plan program? Evidence and environmental policy implications

J Environ Manage. 2009 Feb;90(2):1269-79. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.07.006. Epub 2008 Sep 14.


Program stakeholders are interested in better understanding farmers' experience, and factors that affect farmer participation in the relatively new Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program, implemented in several provinces in Canada. To increase relevance of the research findings to EFP program administrators and policy makers, the research methods emphasised determining whether relationships exist among program-related variables, and how such relationships affect farmers' decision choices and behaviour. Traditional farmer and farm attributes that have contrasting effects in agricultural innovation adoption and conservation management (namely age, and formal education completed), were not associated with EFP program participation. Farm income, years of farming experience, and type of agribusiness managed were associated with participation in the Nova Scotia EFP program. Although program participants tended to have higher incomes, overall, non-financial considerations dominated monetary considerations in Nova Scotia farmers' reasons for participating in the Nova Scotia EFP. Helping to publicize positive farm stewardship practices was reported as the most important reason for participating in the EFP scheme, followed by its use to help improve relationships with non-farming neighbours, and to comply with government environmental regulations. In contrast, and somewhat a surprising finding, minimizing potential farm environmental risk, program administrators' raison d'être for promoting the NS EFP, was ranked the lowest, with no respondent rating that as a "very important" or "extremely important" reason for participating in the EFP program.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Educational Status
  • Environment*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Motivation
  • Nova Scotia
  • Planning Techniques*