Heterogeneity in climate change risk perception amongst dairy farmers: a latent class clustering analysis

AP Barnes, MM Islam, L Toma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Livestock production has been criticized for its effect on greenhouse gas emissions and policy makers are now supporting actions to reduce these impact. Voluntary adoption of these actions will be precluded by the farmer perception of the risks from a changing climate. We employ a latent class clustering approach to understand the heterogeneity within a sample of dairy farmers, based on 8 statements related to climate change risk. The majority of farmers are found to be ’confused moderates’ who have no strong opinion towards the possible future impacts of climate change. Two further classes emerged, namely ’deniers’ and ’risk perceivers’. We find that higher education levels have an influence on increasing risk perception, as does the intention to pass the farm onto another family member. Membership of agri-environmental schemes does not preclude awareness or acceptance of climate change risk, principally due to the lack of emphasis on greenhouse gas emissions within these schemes. In addition, use of social networks seems to be a significant factor in raising the profile of risk perception within farmer decision-making. We conclude that advisors and those engaging with the farming community must accommodate climate messages in their communication strategies. Furthermore, emphasis on the greenhouse gas benefits from adoption of agri-environmental schemes would seem to be an efficient vehicle for raising the risk profile of climate change and influence future uptake of Government and industry supported actions. 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105 - 115
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPrint publication - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note



  • Climate change
  • Dairy farming
  • Latent class analysis


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