Farmers' perceptions of climate change: identifying types

JJ Hyland, DL Jones, KA Parkhill, AP Barnes, AP Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


Ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture have been set by both national governments and their respective livestock sectors. We hypothesize that farmer self-identity influences their assessment of climate change and their willingness to implement measures which address the issue. Perceptions of climate change were determined from 286 beef/sheep farmers and evaluated using principal component analysis (PCA). The analysis elicits two components which evaluate identity (productivism and environmental responsibility), and two components which evaluate behavioral capacity to adopt mitigation and adaptation measures (awareness and risk perception). Subsequent Cluster Analyses reveal four farmer types based on the PCA scores. ‘The Productivist’ and ‘The Countryside Steward’ portray low levels of awareness of climate change, but differ in their motivation to adopt pro-environmental behavior. Conversely, both ‘The Environmentalist’ and ‘The Dejected’ score higher in their awareness of the issue. In addition, ‘The Dejected’ holds a high sense of perceived risk; however, their awareness is not conflated with an explicit understanding of agriculturalGHG sources. With the exception of ‘The Environmentalist’, there is an evident disconnect between perceptions of agricultural emission sources and their contribution towards GHG emissions amongst all types. If such linkages are not conceptualized, it is unlikely that behavioral capacities will be realized. Effective communication channels which encourage action should target farmers based on the groupings depicted. Therefore, understanding farmer types through the constructs used in this study can facilitate effective and tailored policy development and implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323 - 339
Number of pages17
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number2
Publication statusPrint publication - 2015

Bibliographical note



  • Environmental impact
  • Farmer engagement
  • Livestock
  • Red meat
  • Sustainable intensification


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