Never before were farmer communities under such immense pressure to meet expectations of both general public and controlling authorities. Not only is it expected that a farm will produce nutritious and affordable food for all but farmers have to additionally apply their creative talents to figure out how to do this in a sustainable manner – both efficiently and without damaging the environment or living communities around them. According to a recent European Commission ambitious plan, in just under ten years it is expected that 25% of EU productive land should be organically farmed. For many farmers this means a radical transformation of not just their farming business but entire life philosophies. Are they ready for such a change in their career? Are they willing to bravely face multiple challenges or is it a perfect excuse for a long-planned retirement? To better understand what motivates farmers to move forward despite all the headwinds and what support they would need from the government or local communities to successfully implement necessary changes, a new Circular Agronomics survey will be conducted among 300 farmers across selected EU countries.
Surveys are used by researchers worldwide to understand what factors and conditions might affect farmers in their crusade to make their business more innovative, modern and sustainable. It is widely believed that farmers’ age, marital status, and even their personal attitudes towards environment and climate change are often behind concrete actions aimed at adoption of modern technologies, such as organic farming. The Circular Agronomics survey has been designed to cover a wide diapason of such characteristics. For example, one part of the survey pertains to farmers’ demographics, their experience in farming, farm’s basic topography and physical characteristics, as well as employment information. Additionally, this part contains questions about farmers’ attitudes towards environment, climate change and profit making. In addition to these general questions suitable for any farmer, we will also focus on specific farming activities and technologies to understand what motivating factors are essential for different farmer groups and farming types such as meat or crop producers.
This survey will be implemented to significantly broaden our understanding of farmers’ motives and determinant factors to adopt more sustainable production systems, which is important for a greener and circular economy in future. For example, it is of special interest to figure out how farmers’ views of climate change would affect their willingness to improve manure and slurry management practices on their farms in Europe. Additionally, it should be intellectually and practically rewarding to compare the results of this survey from different countries to identify possible differences in attitudes conditioned by geography, which has been rarely done before. The results of this study should be helpful for policymakers to devise more targeted and cost-efficient policies across the continent.
If you would like to contribute to the survey you can get in touch with us here. Please mention Circular Agronomics in your mail. We are looking for farmers from the whole production spectrum – crop farms, animal husbandry, horticulture, etc.
Article by: Dmytro Serebrennikov, Sinéad McCarthy and Fiona Thorne (all Teagasc), Zein Kallas (CREDA)