Environmental Management

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 946–957 | Cite as

Climate Change Perceptions of NY State Farmers: The Role of Risk Perceptions and Adaptive Capacity

  • Bruno TakahashiEmail author
  • Morey Burnham
  • Carol Terracina-Hartman
  • Amanda R Sopchak
  • Theresa Selfa


Climate change is expected to severely impact agricultural practices in many important food-producing regions, including the Northeast United States. Changing climate conditions, such as increases in the amount of rainfall, will require farmers to adapt. Yet, little is known with regard to farmers’ perceptions and understandings about climate change, especially in the industrialized country context. This paper aims at overcoming this research limitation, as well as determining the existing contextual, cognitive, and psychological barriers that can prevent adoption of sustainable practices of farmers in New York State. The study is framed within the adaptive capacity and risk perception literature, and is based on a qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with farmers in 21 farms in two counties in Central New York. The results reveal diverging views about the long-term consequences of climate change. Results also reveal that past experience remains as the most important source of information that influences beliefs and perceptions about climate change, confirming previous research.


Adaptation Adaptive capacity Climate change Farmers New York Risk perceptions 



This study was funded by a grant from the Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Takahashi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Morey Burnham
    • 3
  • Carol Terracina-Hartman
    • 2
    • 4
  • Amanda R Sopchak
    • 5
  • Theresa Selfa
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Journalism and Department of CommunicationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, College of Communication Arts and SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental StudiesSUNY-ESFSyracuseUSA
  4. 4.School of Journalism, Michigan State UniversityLansingUSA
  5. 5.Central NY Regional Planning and Development BoardSyracuseUSA
  6. 6.Department of Environmental StudiesSUNY-ESFSyracuseUSA

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