Refining perception-based farmer typologies with the analysis of past census data

J Environ Manage. 2012 Nov 15;110:226-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.06.020. Epub 2012 Jul 15.


Perception-based typologies have been used to explore the decision making process of farmers and to inform policy design. These typologies have been criticised, however, for not fully capturing true farmer behaviour, and are consequently limited for supporting policy formulation. We present a method that develops a typology, using a social survey approach based on how farmers perceive their environment (e.g. birds and agri-environmental schemes). We then apply time-series census data on past farm strategies (i.e. land use allocation, management style and participation into agri-environmental schemes) to refine these typologies. Consequently, this offers an approach to improving the profiling of farmer types, and strengthens the validity of input into future agricultural policies. While the social survey highlights a certain degree of awareness towards birds with respect to farmer types, the analysis of past farm strategies indicated that farmers did not entirely follow their stated objectives. External factors such as input and output price signals and subsidy levels had a stronger influence on their strategies rather than stated environmental and social issues. Consequently, the refining of farmer types using this approach would aid the design of policy instruments, which integrate ecological issues within planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics*
  • Animals
  • Attitude*
  • Birds
  • Censuses*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Decision Making
  • Environment
  • Environmental Policy
  • Scotland