Article
Summary

Many agricultural researchers are now turning away from the traditional postal surveys to email surveys of farmers – an option that is increasingly viable as digitalisation continues to permeate rural areas. However, email surveys often result in considerably lower response rates. This raises questions about the potential of email surveys to experience non-response bias, where the survey methodology excludes particular sectors of the general population and thus results in responses that do not represent the wider population. In this paper we address the issue of whether agricultural researchers should move from postal surveys to email surveys by comparing the results of two applications of the Norwegian national Trends survey – one to 3000 farmers via email and one to 3000 farmers via standard mail. The postal survey achieved a response rate of 41.1% – almost double that of the email survey at 21.4%. However, analysis of the returns suggested this had not led to greater non-response bias in the email survey. While respondents to the email survey were younger, better educated and more likely to be part-time farmers, comparing the entire survey revealed very few significant differences between the two samples. Where the difference was significant (in particular, attitudes towards technology), the scalar difference was so small that using different survey methods would not have led to different conclusions. Although there was no evidence that the low response rate compromised the email survey, we conclude that postal surveys may still be preferable because (a) there is less scope for non-response bias, and (b) having to double the gross survey size to achieve a sufficient sample size may create additional survey fatigue in the long term. We discuss the applicability of the findings to farm surveys in other countries. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.09.029


Article
Summary

Agricultural activities and associated land use change are a major contributor to global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making climate change mitigation in the agricultural sector all the more critical. However, farmers' willingness to adopt GHG abatement depends, to a large extent, on the financial implications of new practices. Climate change mitigation is unlikely to be adopted without external (financial, socio-cultural, or other) incentives. The research presented in this paper considers farmers' preferences for financing climate change mitigation practices through public crowdfunding. As a first study of its kind, we investigate farmers' attitudes towards climate change mitigation, knowledge of crowdfunding as a fundraising method, and interest in using public crowdfunding campaigns to finance on-farm mitigation practices. Based on a choice experiment survey with 443 Norwegian farmers, we show that knowledge about crowdfunding as an alternative finance method is generally low. Respondents who are interested in using crowdfunding prefer donation- or reward-based crowdfunding models that cover the full cost of mitigation over a loan-based model or campaigns that only fund a proportion of the costs. A financially secure farming business, previous exposure to crowdfunding, and a strong sense of responsibility to abate climate change are associated with higher farmers’ interest in using crowdfunding. We find that farmers in Norway are hesitant to be publicly presented as recipients of crowdfunding, which suggests that crowdfunding is best set up as joint campaigns (e.g. with other farmers) that are run by intermediary organisations (rather than by individual farmers). Our findings highlight that, while opportunities to use crowdfunding as a fundraising method for agricultural climate change may be limited, properly designed campaigns can provide an effective instrument to engage certain groups of farmers in on-farm climate change mitigation.


  • Rob Burton
  • Anda Adamsone-Fiskovica
  • Mikelis Grivins
  • Boelie Elzen
  • Sharon Flanigan
  • Rebekka Frick
  • Claire Hardy
Article
Summary

Purpose: The paper identifies, outlines, and categorises establishment and operational factors that contribute to successful agricultural on-farm demonstration. Design/Methodology/approach: The paper is based on a literature review on demonstration activities and meta-analysis of 24 original case study reports from 12 European countries. Findings: Based on a combination of deductive and inductive analysis, the success determinants are classified into nine critical success factors deemed important in designing an on-farm demonstration event (the ‘Nine Ps'): Purpose, Problem, Place, Personnel, Positioning, Programme, Process, Practicalities, Post-event engagement. Each factor (‘what') is framed in terms of success principles to provide a guide to its enactment (‘how'). Practical implications: The results of the analysis can serve as a practical decision-support tool for organisers and evaluators of on-farm demonstration events. Theoretical implications: The paper broadens the perspective on the character, interlinkages, and relative importance of the factors underlying demonstration and their successful application within the agricultural knowledge and innovation system. Originality/Value: The paper addresses the deficit of comprehensive empirical studies investigating on-farm demonstrations by offering a rich research-based analysis of the factors and principles underlying their successful implementation. https://doi.org/10.1080/1389224X.2020.1844768


Article
Summary

Cellular food technologies aim to decouple animal protein production from animal bodies and address the negative environmental, ethical, and human health implications of animal agriculture through its substitution. This marks a major rupture with previous expectations for agricultural biotechnology. If technically and commercially successful cellular agriculture could have far reaching effects that have yet to be the subject of concerted public or political discussion. These include, fundamentally altering human-nature relations, disrupting existing food systems, patterns of land use, rural economies, drivers of environmental change and biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

In this paper we explore the environmental and rural visions of cellular agriculture in mainstream news and industry media, their contestation and the narrative silences. These silences represent the under- and un-explored questions, contingencies, and eventualities of envisioned developments. Our analysis highlights how anticipated efficiency gains are central to the realisation of several interlinked but separate positive environmental visions. Notably, that cellular agriculture will be able to replace conventional agriculture and feed the future whilst reducing environmental burdens and land use pressures. However, these visions leave many potential consequences unaddressed. We therefore explore these narrative silences. In doing so we explore the creative and destructive potential of these technologies with a specific emphasis on their environmental, rural, and spatial implications. In conclusion, we identify and anticipate environmental and rural policy implications stemming from these technologies that require further consideration, public and political discussion. Journal of Rural Studies, Volume 84, May 2021, Pages 180-191


Article
Summary

Within Norwegian agriculture, combined dairy and beef production has been identified as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and thus targeted for significant reductions. The article examines the path dependency of the dairy and beef production system in Norway and focuses on identifying lock-ins. The authors used qualitative methods to gather information from stakeholder meetings in Trøndelag and Rogaland counties. They explored the stakeholders’ responses to two different visions of agriculture in the future: the improved utilisation of outfields using Norwegian Red cattle and increasing production per animal by using feed concentrates. Six key areas of lock-in were identified: technology investment, culture, feeding strategy, policy, access to new farmland through moorland conversion, and ownership of the climate issue. The findings suggest that the current pathway in agriculture is strongly locked into production orientation through these lock-ins, making a production reduction option difficult to implement. There was also widespread belief among the stakeholders that the system of combined dairy and beef production was a climate-friendly option, suggesting that farmers are not convinced that a change in this direction is required. The authors conclude that the option of reducing production would be difficult to implement without addressing the multiple lock-in effects. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift 75(1):1-14, February 2021


Article
Summary

To address sustainable development goals (SDGs), national and international strategies have been increasingly interested in the bioeconomy. SDGs have been criticized for lacking stakeholder perspectives and agency, and for requiring too little of business. There is also a lack of both systematic and systemic frameworks for the strategic planning of bioeconomy transitions. Using a systems engineering approach, we seek to address this with a process framework to bridge bioeconomy transitions by addressing SDGs. In this methodology paper, we develop a systems archetype mapping framework for sustainable bioeconomy transitions, called MPAST: Mapping Problem Archetypes to Solutions for Transitions. Using this framework with sector-specific stakeholder data facilitates the establishment of the start (problem state) and end (solution state) to understand and analyze sectorial transitions to the bioeconomy. We apply the MPAST framework to the case of a Norwegian agricultural bioeconomy transition, using data from a survey of the Norwegian agricultural sector on transitioning to a bioeconomy. The results of using this framework illustrate how visual mapping methods can be combined as a process, which we then discuss in the context of SDG implementation. Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6650


  • Rob Burton
  • Fatemeh Rahimi-Feyzabad
  • Masoud Yazdanpanah
  • Masoumeh Forouzani
  • Saeed Mohammadzadeh
Article
Summary

The objective of this paper is to empirically test the explanatory ability of cultural capital, which is generally considered more qualitatively and rarely quantified, for farmers’ water conservation behavior. In applying this approach, we reflect the growing interest in the role of culture and identity in influencing farmer’s decision-making. The study design involved a cross-sectional survey of growers in the Aleshtar county in Western Iran. The sample consisted of 360 farmers. The results of person correlation test showed significant relationships between all forms of cultural capital and both intention to behave and behavior. Furthermore, Structural Equation Model analysis revealed that the embodied and objective forms of capital predicted about 43% of the variance in farmers’ intention. Moreover, the institutionalised, objective, intension and family experiences predicted about 45% of the variance in farmers’ behavior. Based on the research results, recommendations for water conservation were provided. Journal of Hydrology, Volume 591, 125442


Article
Summary

The reappearance of large carnivores in Europe can be viewed as a conservation success, however, the increase in carnivore numbers has also resulted in an increase in livestock predation. While multiple studies have been conducted into farmers’ attitudes to large carnivores, the consequence of predation on farmers’ mental health and wellbeing is under-researched. Using a mixed-method approach, this study examines the potential regional impact of the presence of wolves on farmers’ psychological distress in Norway. Data from the nationally representative Trends in Norwegian Agriculture Survey was analysed using a multiple regression analysis. Psychological distress was measured using a 5 item Hopkins Symptom Checklist. Comparison with register data of livestock losses showed that sheep farmers living in regions where sheep have been killed by wolves within the last 5 years have higher psychological distress scores than (a) sheep farmers elsewhere in Norway, and (b) farmers in the same region without sheep. What makes our study different from others is that the Trends survey was not targeted at the wolf issue directly, meaning that accusations of farmer bias against wolves when responding to surveys cannot explain our results. We support this conclusion by exploring (and, ultimately, dismissing) alternative explanations and through 20 qualitative interviews with sheep farmers in a predation region (regional county of Hedmark) to investigate how carnivore presence is experienced. Stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and reduced quality of life were reported as key consequences of the carnivore pressure. The findings suggest that farmers do not need to experience animal deaths and injuries personally to experience the distress of predation. Living nearby and assisting farmer colleagues make this a shared condition. Journal of Rural Studies 78:1-11


  • Rob Burton
  • Jérémie Forney
  • Paul Stock
  • Lee-Ann Sutherland
Book
Summary

Developed by leading authors in the field, this book offers a cohesive and definitive theorisation of the concept of the 'good farmer', integrating historical analysis, critique of contemporary applications of good farming concepts, and new case studies, providing a springboard for future research. The concept of the good farmer has emerged in recent years as part of a move away from attitude and economic-based understandings of farm decision-making towards a deeper understanding of culture and symbolism in agriculture. The Good Farmer shows why agricultural production is socially and culturally, as well as economically, important. It explores the history of the concept and its position in contemporary theory, as well as its use and meaning in a variety of different contexts, including landscape, environment, gender, society, and as a tool for resistance. By exploring the idea of the good farmer, it reveals the often-unforeseen assumptions implicit in food and agricultural policy that draw on culture, identity, and presumed notions of what is 'good'. The book concludes by considering the potential of the good farmer concept for addressing future, emerging issues in agriculture. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of food and agriculture and rural development, as well as professionals and policymakers involved in the food and agricultural industry. Publisher: Routledge


Book
Summary

Skal bioøkonomien overta når oljen tar slutt? En slik overgang vil innebære en rekke endringer innen blant annet jordbruk, skogbruk, fiskeri, akvakultur, biovitenskap og industri. En «smart» bioøkonomi vil kreve utvikling på tvers av disse biosektorene. Å få til en overgang som også er samfunnsmessig akseptabel for befolkningen, krever kloke politiske beslutninger, og kunnskapsgrunnlaget må styrkes. Satsing på bioøkonomi reiser en rekke nye spørsmål: Hva vil det innebære i praksis at bioøkonomi får en større rolle? Hvordan styrke omstillingen til en mer biobasert økonomi? Hvilke initiativer og virkemidler må til for å gjennomføre et skifte fra olje- til biobasert økonomi? Hva skal man forstå med begrepet bioøkonomi? Etter oljen. Vår bioøkonomiske fremtid diskuterer forskjellige aspekter, muligheter og utfordringer ved en slik overgang. Boka er aktuell for studenter, aktører i næringslivet, politikere, myndigheter, organisasjoner, forskere og ikke minst den interesserte samfunnsborger. Boka er en del av prosjektet BIOSMART, finansiert av Norges forskningsråd og ledet av Ruralis - Institutt for rural- og regionalforskning. Forlag: Cappelen Damm akademisk


Article
Summary

The rise of organic chemistry in the 1800s quickly lead to the realisation that products previously derived from plants and animals could be derived synthetically from alternative organic sources. Although it slowly became clear that there were limitations to this technology, the goal of producing animal protein synthetically has remained a tantalising prospect for scientists, with new hopes being rekindled throughout the years as new knowledge emerged or technologies developed. The demonstration of synthetic meat (also termed in vitro meat) in 2013 revived this dream and, with the refinement of protein synthesis technologies, 31 start-ups are now working to become the first company to market synthetic animal protein. The potentially transformative nature of this technology make it essential to understand its potential to disrupt conventional agriculture at an early stage. This paper addresses this issue by examining historical substitutions that have lead to the decline or even decimation of agricultural industries, namely: alizarin (madder), indigotin (indigo) and vanillin (vanilla). Following an outlining of the historical cases themselves, it identifies substitution product complexity, ease of synthesis, compatibility with industrial processes, and contamination of the natural product as four key issues that affect the substitution transition. Analysis of the specific synthetic animal protein case suggests that, while there are many additional issues that could affect any transition, three aspects are key: development of transferrable technologies in the medical sector, potential environmental advantages, and a lack of consumer resistance to its “unnatural” nature. Finally, the paper argues that rather than a complete substitution (e.g. alizarin & indigo) a furcated market (e.g. vanillin) with various classes of protein production is likely to emerge – within which industrial livestock production will struggle to compete against cheap synthetic alternatives. Journal of Rural Studies, Volume 68, Pages 33-45


Article
Summary

Purpose: Demonstration farming has been an important part of agricultural extension since the first decades of the twentieth century. While Seaman Knapp is often credited with developing demonstration farming, his son acknowledged that the concept has much earlier origins in the nineteenth century development of model/pattern farms. However, little is known of these early origins or why early demonstration agriculture failed. This paper addresses this gap. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology involves analysis of out of copy-right historical journal articles, letters, pamphlets, and books recently made available by online services such as Google Books. Findings: The study details how the concept of demonstration farming was developed by agricultural societies of the eighteenth century but was not implemented until the early nineteenth century with the advent of model/pattern farms. Demonstration activities were run by a variety of different types of private and public farm organisations who sought to improve agriculture through emulation. Enthusiasm for model farms died out by the end of the nineteenth century but the failure of model farm demonstration leaves us with lessons for demonstration farming today. Theoretical implications: The study provides new knowledge on the conceptual and historical development of demonstration farming and why it failed to influence change. Practical implications: The study identifies factors that might contribute to the failure of demonstration activities. Originality/value: This is the first study to explore in detail demonstration farming on nineteenth century model farms and, methodologically, outlines how free on-line digitised literature can be used to investigate early agricultural education activities. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, https://doi.org/10.1080/1389224X.2019.1674168


Article
Summary

Meeting targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture will require the implementation of effective mitigation measures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently recognised that to succeed we need to understand more about the conditions within which mitigation measures are applied, and for this, they note, we need insights from social science disciplines including sociology. We addressed this knowledge gap by using the concept of path‐dependency and lock‐in to explore barriers to change in dairy/beef systems in Norway. A qualitative survey of 29 farms found that changing parenting, recreational and spousal role expectations are driving farmers towards intensification (and thus higher emissions) in order to purchase milking robots, which, in turn, provide increased time for the expected role changes. Structural change is thus predominantly directed towards farm continuity which is making it increasingly difficult to meet mitigation targets in the future. The study illustrates how mitigation measures might be made more effective by understanding and addressing the broader cultural/structural environment within which farmers and their families operate. Sociologia Ruralis, https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12277


  • Rob Burton
  • Constanza Parra
  • Inger Birkeland
  • Katrina Siivonen
Article
Summary

Long overshadowed by more utilitarian and economically-centred methodological approaches to sustainable development, the relationship between culture and sustainability can be considered an under-studied aspect within the sustainability and more recently resilience literature. The use of the term 'culture' in multiple contexts has generated a variety of interrelated meanings and definitions. Pretty and Pilgrim identify four bridges connecting nature and culture which provide a useful framework for understanding the interaction between culture and sustainability. The uses of the word culture nowadays denote in many cases a relation to social progress or development. Different cultures value nature in different ways and thus have different connection with their natural environments. Norms and institutions emerge from the different values, practices and knowledge types mediating the nature—culture interface. The nature—culture interface is socially embedded in a dynamic multi-scalar system of socio-political and cultural relationships. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. I Birkeland, I., Burton, R.J.F., Para, C., og Siivonen, K. Cultural Sustainability and the Nature-Culture Interface: Livelihoods, policies, and methodologies, s. 1-17. London: Taylor & Francis


Article
Summary

High-value agri-cultural landscapes across Europe are important for the local economy, maintaining biodiversity and preserving cultural heritage. However, studies indicate that the family farming cultures maintaining these landscapes are dying out and, consequently, the landscapes themselves are increasingly under threat. This chapter contends that the lack of focus of landscape policies on cultural sustainability plays a major role in this decline. An analysis of survey results from the Lake District National Park (United Kingdom) suggests that reductions in sheep stocking rates (promoting environmental sustainability) affect community size and social interaction; health and safety regulations (promoting social sustainability) restrict early childhood socialisation and identity development; use of contractors for traditional buildings (preserving traditional structures) limits the extent to which the landscape and culture become consubstantial; restrictions on building a second farm house (preserving tourism value) conflicts with changing aspirations of the next generation; and the influx of new cultural beliefs as the economic prosperity of the area increases conflict with traditional values and expectations. The result is a major cultural shift. To preserve important cultural landscapes as ‘living’ landscapes, therefore, the implications of policies for cultural sustainability also need to be considered. I Birkeland, I., Burton, R.J.F., Para, C., og Siivonen, K. (red.) Cultural Sustainability and the Nature-Culture Interface: Livelihoods, policies, and methodologies, 137-151. London: Taylor & Francis