Farmers’ pro-environmental agricultural practices (PAPs) are important measures to limit agricultural pollution and improve farmland quality. Given the positive externality of PAPs, the Chinese government has proposed a series of farmland protection policies to encourage farmers to implement PAPs. However, land transfer, an increasingly common phenomenon, may affect the effectiveness of policies. This study aims to explore how farmers’ PAPs have been affected by land transfer and farmers’ knowledge of farmland protection policy (KFPP). A systematic theoretical framework for this relation is developed. The probit model is applied to empirically investigate the relationship between land transfer, KFPP and the PAP of straw return to fields based on data collected from 400 farmers in Ningxia Province in China. The findings reveal that farmers’ KFPP has a positive effect on PAPs. Rented-in land has a positive effect on PAPs, while rented-out land has a negative effect, which is significantly reduced with the adjustment effect of KFPP on land transfer. Our analysis provides policy implications for the successful implementation of PAPs. The positive effect of rented-in land and the negative effect of land fragmentation on PAPs suggest the importance of policies promoting land consolidation by incorporating plot-connecting interventions in the land rental market. The positive and significant effect of KFPP on PAPs suggests further enhancing farmers’ knowledge of farmland protection policy, for example, by improving information channels and extension services.
- Agricultural sustainable development
- Knowledge of farmland protection policy
- Land transfer
- Pro-environmental agricultural practices