Assessing farmers’ intention to adopt soil conservation practices across Europe

J. Bijttebier, G. Ruysschaert, F. Marchand, R. Hijbeek, A.A. Pronk, N. Schlatter, G. Guzmàn, A. Syp, M. Werner, L. Bechini, N. Guiffant, E. Wauters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


During the past decennia, soil conservation practices (SCPs) have been developed in order to maintain or restore soil health which is essential to the resilience of the farm. However, the adoption rate in practice is rather low. Amongst other reasons, these practices might lack onfarm compatibility, or farmers may lack confidence in the proposed measures. To increase the adoption rate of SCPs, capturing farmers’ opinions, given their specific farming context, can aid future strategies to get the SCPs implemented. Therefore, the aim of this study is to identify and compare different barriers and drivers towards the adoption of SCPs across 25 major farm type agri-environmental zone combinations in 8 European countries. To unravel farmer’s motivation and ability to implement a certain SCP, we applied a sequential mixed method approach based on the theory of planned behavior, a socio-psychological framework to predict human behavior. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with farmers reveal a first indication of possible barriers and drivers. These serve as the basis for a broad quantitative survey in each of the 25 major farm type zones, all characterized by their own soil, climate, regulatory and socio-economic context. Due to this context, the selected SCPs in the questionnaire differ among the major farm type zones, although with cover crops and reduced and/or non-inversion tillage, two wide-spread practices, were included across nearly all farm type zones. An EU-wide comparison between different regions allows us to better relate differences in barriers, motivators and farmers’ intention to differences in bio-physical, economic, institutional, social and regulatory conditions. To obtain a correct interpretation and clarification of the most striking results, we organize regional focus groups with experts and farmers. The results will offer valuable insights to advice EU policy, extension and scientific research. They will be able to take into account the specific context of
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 11th European IFSA Symposium
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event11th European IFSA Symposium, Berlijn, Germany -
Duration: 2 Apr 20144 Apr 2014


Conference11th European IFSA Symposium, Berlijn, Germany


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