Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 349–365 | Cite as

Do advisors perceive climate change as an agricultural risk? An in-depth examination of Midwestern U.S. Ag advisors’ views on drought, climate change, and risk management

  • Sarah P. Church
  • Michael Dunn
  • Nicholas Babin
  • Amber Saylor Mase
  • Tonya Haigh
  • Linda S. Prokopy
Article

Abstract

Through the lens of the Health Belief Model and Protection Motivation Theory, we analyzed interviews of 36 agricultural advisors in Indiana and Nebraska to understand their appraisals of climate change risk, related decision making processes and subsequent risk management advice to producers. Most advisors interviewed accept that weather events are a risk for US Midwestern agriculture; however, they are more concerned about tangible threats such as crop prices. There is not much concern about climate change among agricultural advisors. Management practices that could help producers adapt to climate change were more likely to be recommended by conservation and Extension advisors, while financial and crop advisors focused more upon season-to-season decision making (e.g., hybrid seeds and crop insurance). We contend that the agricultural community should integrate long-term thinking as part of farm decision making processes and that agricultural advisors are in a prime position to influence producers. In the face of increasing extreme weather events, climatologists and advisors should work more closely to reach a shared understanding of the risks posed to agriculture by climate change.

Keywords

Adaptation Health belief model Protection motivation theory Drought Qualitative 

Abbreviations

GDP

Gross domestic product

HBM

Health belief model

PMT

Protection motivation theory

US

United States

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding for this research was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP) Grant Number NA13OAR431012 and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant Number 2011-68002-30220. We thank the many agricultural advisors who agreed to be interviewed for this research. We also thank three anonymous reviewers, who provided valuable and useful feedback incorporated into this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

This research was reviewed and granted approval by the Purdue University Human Research Protection Program Institutional Review Board.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. Arbuckle, J. G. Jr, L. S. Prokopy, T. Haigh, J. Hobbs, T. Knoot, C. Knutson, A. Loy, A. S. Mase, J. McGuire, L. W. Morton, and J. Tyndall. 2013. Climate change beliefs, concerns, and attitudes toward adaptation and mitigation among farmers in the Midwestern United States. Climatic Change 117 (4): 943–950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arbuckle, J. G. Jr, L. W. Morton, and J. Hobbs. 2015. Understanding farmer perspectives on climate change adaptation and mitigation: The roles of trust in sources of climate information, climate change beliefs, and perceived risk. Environment and Behavior 47 (2): 205–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes, A. P., and L. Toma. 2012. A typology of dairy farmer perceptions towards climate change. Climatic Change 112 (2): 507–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernard, H. R., and G. W. Ryan. 2009. Analyzing qualitative data: Systematic approaches. Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  5. Bowen, G. A. 2008. Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept: A research note. Qualitative Research 8 (1): 137–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Breuer, N. E., C. W. Fraisse, and V. E. Cabrera. 2010. The cooperative extension service as a boundary organization for diffusion of climate forecasts: a 5-year study. Journal of Extension 48 (4): 4RIB7.Google Scholar
  7. Buizer, J., K. Jacobs, and D. Cash. 2010. Making short-term climate forecasts useful: Linking science and action. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (17): 4597–4602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burnett, R. E., A. J. Vuola, M. A. Megalos, D. C. Adams, and M. C. Monroe. 2014. North Carolina cooperative extension professionals’ climate change perceptions, willingness, and perceived barriers to programming: An educational needs assessment. Journal of Extension 52 (1): n1.Google Scholar
  9. Campbell, J. L., C. Quincy, J. Osserman, and O. K. Pedersen. 2013. Coding in-depth semistructured interviews problems of unitization and intercoder reliability and agreement. Sociological Methods and Research 42 (3): 294–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carlisle, L. 2016. Factors influencing farmer adoption of soil health practices in the United States: A narrative review. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 40 (6): 583–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carlton, J. S., J. R. Angel, S. Fei, M. Huber, T. M. Koontz, B. J. MacGowan, N. D. Mullendore, N. Babin, and L. S. Prokopy. 2014. State service foresters’ attitudes toward using climate and weather information when advising forest landowners. Journal of Forestry 112 (1): 9–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carlton, J. S., A. S. Mase, C. L. Knutson, M. C. Lemos, T. Haigh, D. P. Todey, and L. S. Prokopy. 2016. The effects of extreme drought on climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and adaptation attitudes. Climatic Change 135 (2): 211–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Church, S. P., and L. S. Prokopy. 2017. The influence of social criteria in mobilizing watershed conservation efforts: A case study of a successful watershed in the Midwestern US. Land Use Policy 61: 353–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Church, S. P., T. Haigh, M. Widhalm, S. G. de Jalon, N. Babin, J. S. Carlton, M. Dunn, K. Fagan, C. L. Knutson, and L. S. Prokopy. 2017. Agricultural trade publications and the 2012 Midwestern US drought: A missed opportunity for climate risk communication. Climate Risk Management 15: 45–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cismaru, M., R. Cismaru, T. Ono, and K. Nelson. 2011. Act on climate change”: An application of protection motivation theory. Social Marketing Quarterly 17 (3): 62–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen, J. 1960. A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychosocial Measurement 20: 37–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crane, T. A., C. Roncoli, J. Paz, N. Breuer, K. Broad, K. T. Ingram, and G. Hoogenboom. 2010. Forecast skill and farmers’ skills: Seasonal climate forecasts and agricultural risk management in the southeastern United States. Weather, Climate, and Society 2 (1): 44–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dietz, T., A. Dan, and R. Shwom. 2007. Support for climate change policy: Social psychological and social structural influences. Rural Sociology 72 (2): 185–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eiser, J. R., A. Bostrom, I. Burton, D. M. Johnston, J. McClure, D. Paton, J. Van Der Pligt, and M. P. White. 2012. Risk interpretation and action: A conceptual framework for responses to natural hazards. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 1: 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gardner, W. 1995. On the reliability of sequential data: Measurement, meaning, and correction. The analysis of change. 339–359. Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Gergen, K. J. 2009. An invitation to social construction. 2nd ed. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Gorden, R. 1992. Basic interviewing skills. Itasca: F. E. Peacock.Google Scholar
  23. Gramig, B. M., J. M. Barnard, and L. S. Prokopy. 2013. Farmer beliefs about climate change and carbon sequestration incentives. Climate Research 56 (2): 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grothmann, T., and A. Patt. 2005. Adaptive capacity and human cognition: the process of individual adaptation to climate change. Global Environmental Change 15 (3): 199–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grothmann, T., and F. Reusswig. 2006. People at risk of flooding: Why some residents take precautionary action while others do not. Natural Hazards 38 (1–2): 101–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Haden, V. R., M. T. Niles, M. Lubell, J. Perlman, and L. E. Jackson. 2012. Global and local concerns: What attitudes and beliefs motivate farmers to mitigate and adapt to climate change? PloS ONE 7 (12): e52882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haigh, T., L. W. Morton, M. C. Lemos, C. Knutson, L. S. Prokopy, Y. J. Lo, and J. Angel. 2015. Agricultural advisors as climate Information intermediaries: Exploring differences in capacity to communicate climate. Weather, Climate, and Society 7 (1): 83–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hatfield, J. L., K. J. Boote, B. A. Kimball, L. H. Ziska, R. C. Izaurralde, D. Ort, A. M. Thomson, and D. Wolfe. 2011. Climate impacts on agriculture: implications for crop production. Agronomy Journal 103 (2): 351–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Heimlich, J. E., and N. M. Ardoin. 2008. Understanding behavior to understand behavior change: A literature review. Environmental Education Research 14 (3): 215–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Howden, S. M., J. F. Soussana, F. N. Tubiello, N. Chhetri, M. Dunlop, and H. Meinke. 2007. Adapting agriculture to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (50): 19691–19696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Inouye, J. 2014. Risk perception: Theories, strategies, and next steps. Campbell Institute.Google Scholar
  32. Jagtap, S. S., J. W. Jones, P. Hildebrand, D. Letson, J. J. O’Brien, G. Podestá, D. Zierden, and F. Zazueta. 2002. Responding to stakeholder’s demands for climate information: from research to applications in Florida. Agricultural Systems 74 (3): 415–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Janz, N. K., and M. H. Becker. 1984. The health belief model: A decade later. Health Education and Behavior 11 (1): 1–47.Google Scholar
  34. Lemos, M. C., C. J. Kirchhoff, and V. Ramprasad. 2012. Narrowing the climate information usability gap. Nature Climate Change 2 (11): 789–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lemos, M. C., Y. J. Lo, C. Kirchhoff, and T. Haigh. 2014. Crop advisors as climate information brokers: Building the capacity of US farmers to adapt to climate change. Climate Risk Management 4: 32–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mase, A. S., and L. S. Prokopy. 2014. Unrealized potential: A review of perceptions and use of weather and climate information in agricultural decision making. Weather, Climate, and Society 6 (1): 47–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mase, A. S., H. Cho, and L. S. Prokopy. 2015. Enhancing the Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF) by exploring trust, the availability heuristic, and agricultural advisors’ belief in climate change. Journal of Environmental Psychology 41: 166–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mase, A. S., B. M. Gramig, and L. S. Prokopy. 2017. Climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and adaptation behavior among Midwestern US crop farmers. Climate Risk Management 15: 8–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McBean, G. 2004. Climate change and extreme weather: A basis for action. Natural Hazards 31 (1): 177–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Miles, M. B., and A. M. Huberman. 1994. Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Sage.Google Scholar
  41. Moser, S. C. 2010. Communicating climate change: history, challenges, process and future directions. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 1 (1): 31–53.Google Scholar
  42. National Research Council (NRC). 2010. Adapting to the impacts of climate change: America’s climate choices. National Academies Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  43. Nisbet, M. C. 2009. Communicating climate change: Why frames matter to public engagement. Environment 51: 12–23.Google Scholar
  44. Pidgeon, N., and B. Fischhoff. 2011. The role of social and decision sciences in communicating uncertain climate risks. Nature Climate Change 1 (1): 35–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pike, C., B. Doppelt, M. Herr, and Climate Leadership Initiative. 2010. Climate communications and behavior change: A guide for practitioners. The Resource Innovation Group and The Climate Leadership Initiative Institute for a Sustainable Environment, University of Oregon.Google Scholar
  46. Prokopy, L. S., K. Floress, D. Klotthor-Weinkauf, and A. Baumgart-Getz. 2008. Determinants of agricultural best management practice adoption: Evidence from the literature. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 63 (5): 300–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Prokopy, L. S., T. Haigh, A. S. Mase, J. Angel, C. Hart, C. Knutson, M. C. Lemos, Y. J. Lo, J. McGuire, L. W. Morton, and J. Perron. 2013. Agricultural advisors: A receptive audience for weather and climate information? Weather, Climate, and Society 5 (2): 162–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Prokopy, L. S., J. S. Carlton, J. G. Arbuckle Jr, T. Haigh, M. C. Lemos, A. S. Mase, N. Babin, M. Dunn, J. Andresen, J. Angel, and C. Hart. 2015a. Extension′ s role in disseminating information about climate change to agricultural stakeholders in the United States. Climatic Change 130 (2): 261–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Prokopy, L. S., L. W. Morton, J. G. Arbuckle Jr., A. S. Mase, and A. K. Wilke. 2015b. Agricultural stakeholder views on climate change: Implications for conducting research and outreach. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 96 (2): 181–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Prokopy, L. S., J. S. Carlton, T. Haigh, M. C. Lemos, A. S. Mase, and M. Widhalm. 2017. Useful to Usable: Developing usable climate science for agriculture. Climate Risk Management 15: 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reimer, A. P., A. W. Thompson, and L. S. Prokopy. 2012. The multi-dimensional nature of environmental attitudes among farmers in Indiana: implications for conservation adoption. Agriculture and Human Values 29 (1): 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Reser, J. P., and J. K. Swim. 2011. Adapting to and coping with the threat and impacts of climate change. American Psychologist 66 (4): 277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rogers, R. 1983. Cognitive and physiological processes in fear-based attitude change: A revised theory of protection motivation. In Social psychophysiology: A sourcebook, eds. J. Caccioppo, and R. Petty, 153–176. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  54. Rosenberg, S., and R. D. Margerum. 2008. Landowner motivations for watershed restoration: Lessons from five watersheds. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 51 (4): 477–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Saleh Safi, A., W. James Smith, and Z. Liu. 2012. Rural Nevada and climate change: Vulnerability, beliefs, and risk perception. Risk Analysis 32 (6): 1041–1059.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Semenza, J. C., G. B. Ploubidis, and L. A. George. 2011. Climate change and climate variability: personal motivation for adaptation and mitigation. Environmental Health 10 (1): 46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Smit, B., and J. Wandel. 2006. Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Global Environmental Change 16 (3): 282–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Straub, C. L., and J. E. Leahy. 2014. Application of a modified health belief model to the pro-environmental behavior of private well water testing. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 50 (6): 1515–1526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tomich, T. P., S. Brodt, H. Ferris, R. Galt, W. R. Horwath, E. Kebreab, J. H. Leveau, D. Liptzin, M. Lubell, P. Merel, and R. Michelmore. 2011. Agroecology: A review from a global-change perspective. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 36: 193–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. USDA ERS. 2017a. United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. State Fact Sheets. Indiana. https://data.ers.usda.gov/reports.aspx?reportPath=/StateFactSheets/StateFactSheets&StateFIPS=18&ID=17854#Pcdea0e5a28a1483f9342ad5d94a118ce_2_428iT15C0x0.
  61. USDA ERS. 2017b. United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. State Fact Sheets. Nebraska. https://data.ers.usda.gov/reports.aspx?reportPath=/StateFactSheets/StateFactSheets&StateFIPS=18&ID=17854#Pcdea0e5a28a1483f9342ad5d94a118ce_2_428iT15C0x0.
  62. USDA NASS. 2013. Crop production 2012 summary. United States Department of Agriculture.Google Scholar
  63. Walthall, C. L., C. J. Anderson, L. H. Baumgard, E. Takle, and L. W. Morton. 2013. Climate change and agriculture in the United States: Effects and adaptation. USDA.Google Scholar
  64. Weber, E. U. 1997. Perception and expectation of climate change. In Psychological perspectives to environmental and ethical issues in management, eds. P. Slovic, M. H. Bazerman, D. M. Messick, A. E. Tenbrunsel, and K. A. Wade-Benzoni, 314–341.Google Scholar
  65. Weber, E. U., and P. C. Stern. 2011. Public understanding of climate change in the United States. American Psychologist 66: 315–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah P. Church
    • 1
  • Michael Dunn
    • 2
  • Nicholas Babin
    • 3
  • Amber Saylor Mase
    • 4
  • Tonya Haigh
    • 5
  • Linda S. Prokopy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Ecosystems, Society and BiosecurityForest ResearchRoslin, MidlothianUK
  3. 3.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesSierra Nevada CollegeIncline VillageUSA
  4. 4.Environmental Resources CenterUniversity of Wisconsin ExtensionMadisonUSA
  5. 5.National Drought Mitigation CenterUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

Personalised recommendations