Sources of motivation in the adoption of conservation tillage

Connolly, Stephen
Hilts, Stewart
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Agriculture Canada

To date, research on agriculture and conservation has been largely devoted to attempts to identify farmers who are most likely to 'adopt' a particular conservation practice or technology. Based on the Adoption-Diffusion model, this research has identified farmers in terms of socioeconomic factors such as age and education or farm characteristics such as farm size or farm type. This research has been criticized on several points two of which are: it's inability to address the fact that conservation practices in agriculture are complex and variable, and it's inability to reflect the complexity of the individual's decision-making process. This study presents a methodology which partly answers the above concerns by facilitating the 'mapping' of ideas or sources of motivation. This process is applied to a survey in which farmers were asked to rate the importance of a variety of motivational and behaviourial factors. The result of this process is the grouping of respondents into four distinct 'clusters' which appear to be largely differentiated by the degree to which farm survival at a personal level is a motivating factor. Those farmers who appear to be most strongly motivated by survival tend to be the youngest, least educated and least experienced, farming the largest acreage. These farmers show average to good cropping, rotation and tillage practices though they use the least number of water management practices. Those farmers who appear to be least strongly motivated by survival have the highest average education, and farm the smallest acreage, they show average to good rotation, cropping and tillage practices and use the greatest number of water management practices.

Soil and Water Environmental Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
conservation, socio-economic factors, farm size, farm type, rotation, cropping, tillage, water management, Adoption-Diffusion model