We Have a Responsibility: Alternative Land Use Services Farmers and Environmental Stewardship

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MacLean, Megan K.
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an exploration into the environmental stewardship of farmer participants of the Alternative Land Use Services [ALUS] program in Norfolk County, Ontario. ALUS provides opportunities for farmers to reduce their environmental footprint by providing financial incentives and assistance to reserve agricultural land from production. Utilizing qualitative descriptive method, this study conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews in an attempt to describe the perspectives on environmental stewardship of these farmers, and how these perspectives might have evolved through involvement in ALUS. The study found that the participants have significant feelings of responsibility to protect the environment and do struggle to balance the needs of the environment when it is conflicting with the needs of the farm or the family. However, participation in ALUS is assisting to alter the perspective that environmental stewardship activities can be irreparably in conflict with other needs, amongst several other reported family, farm and community benefits.

ALUS, Alternative Land Use Services, Norfolk County, Environmental Stewardship, Farmers, Environmental Behaviour, Environmental Responsibility, Responsibility, Environment, Payment for Ecological Goods & Services, PEGS, Ecological Goods & Services, Tobacco Farming, Ontario Agriculture, Ontario Farmers