The multi-dimensional nature of environmental attitudes among farmers in Indiana: implications for conservation adoption
- First Online:
Attempts to understand farmer conservation behavior based on quantitative socio-demographic, attitude, and awareness variables have been largely inconclusive. In order to understand fully how farmers are making conservation decisions, 32 in-depth interviews were conducted in the Eagle Creek watershed in central Indiana. Coding for environmental attitudes and practice adoption revealed several dominant themes, representing multi-dimensional aspects of environmental attitudes. Farmers who were motivated by off-farm environmental benefits and those who identified responsibilities to others (stewardship) were most likely to adopt conservation practices. Those farmers who focused on the farm as business and were most concerned about profitability were less likely to adopt practices. The notion of environmental stewardship in particular was found to be much more complex than the way it is traditionally measured in quantitative studies. The interplay between on-farm and off-farm benefits to practice adoption is an issue that quantitative studies largely do not address. This study seeks to increase understanding of farmers’ environmental attitudes and the connections to conservation behavior.
KeywordsEnvironmental attitudes Conservation practice BMP Adoption Stewardship On-farm benefits Off-farm benefits
- Ajzen, I. 1985. From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In Action control: From cognition to behavior, eds. J. Kuhl, and J. Beckmann, 11–39. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Baumgart-Getz, A. 2010. Why do farmers maintain best management practices? PhD dissertation, Purdue University, Indiana, USA.Google Scholar
- ECWMP (Eagle Creek Watershed Management Plan). 2005. http://www.cees.iupui.edu/research/Water_Resources/Eagle_Creek_Watershed_Alliance/Reports/ecw_management_plan.htm. Accessed 29 April 2008.
- Fulkerson, G. 2006. Reality and representations: How Americans think about agriculture. PhD dissertation, North Carolina State University.Google Scholar
- Lockeretz, W. 1990. What have we learned about who conserves soil? Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 45: 517–523.Google Scholar
- Napier, T.L. 2001. Soil and water conservation behaviors in the upper Mississippi River Basin. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 56(4): 279–285.Google Scholar
- Ragin, C.C. 1994. Constructing social research. California: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
- Stemler, S. 2001. An overview of content analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation 7(71). http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=17.
- Wegener, D.T., and L.R. Fabrigar. 2004. Constructing and evaluating quantitative measures for social psychological research: Conceptual challenges and methodological solutions. In The SAGE handbook of methods in social psychology, eds. C. Sansone, C.C.C. Morf, and A.T. Panter, 145–172. New York: Sage.Google Scholar