A-16/22 Promoting climate change mitigation in agriculture: do we need to account for family farm life-cycle?

Writers: Rob Burton and Pia P. Otte

Family farms go through cyclical stages of development and contraction as a result of the overlapping of business goals and generational changes. This ‘farm family life-cycle’ results in periods within which farm families are highly innovative and farmers willing to invest, and other periods where innovativeness and investment are highly unlikely. Within the climate change mitigation literature, innovativeness and willingness to invest have been identified as key drivers of adoption – yet the possible connection between farm family life-cycle and mitigation has yet to be explored. In this paper we address this issue through a survey of 465 farmers in Norway. We first defined life-cycle stages on the basis of theory and then employed a cluster analysis to deductively sort farmers into stages (‘early-stage developers’, ‘commercial developers’, ‘commercial disengagers’ and ‘semi-retired withdrawers’). Testing these clusters against mitigation intention, and other climate change response data, we found significant differences across a range of measures and a progressive trend of declining mitigation intention throughout the life-cycle stages. We conclude that, while our evidence supports the existence of a relationship, additional research is required and, to facilitate this, suggest how future studies might further these investigations towards the goal of developing life-cycle stage related policies for agriculture.

Journal of Rural Studies, Volume 96, December 2022, Pages 270-281, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.10.006

Want to know more?

Contact us and we'll help you, whether it's coming in direct contact with researchers or finding other relevant information.