Finding the ecological farmer: a farmer typology to understand ecological practices within Europe

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Agricultural policies are now orientated towards sustainable food production which integrate climate and biodiversity targets. Increasing the uptake of ecological approaches is intrinsic to the success of these policies. but this is contingent on farmer acceptability of these practices. We employ a cross-European farmer survey to explore the perspectives of producers and to derive a typology based on their ecological self-identities.Using a one stage latent class model we find four types and examine common factors which may correlate to farmer membership of a particular group. We find two types which are positive towards uptake of ecological approaches but are mainly differentiated by their responses to social pressure and the acceptance of ecological practices within their supply chains. A further group reveals a multifunctional identity, which balances ecological with food productivity goals, whereas a final group show indifference towards ecological approaches and may align with previous work identifying productivist farming identities. As Governments are seeking to promote transition within the industry we argue for clear policy intent inmessaging, as well as approaches which support supply chain dialogue to target particular groups of farmers for real behavioural change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100125
JournalCurrent Research in Environmental Sustainability
Early online date1 Feb 2022
Publication statusFirst published - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Ecological practices
  • European farming
  • Farmer identity
  • Latent class analysis


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