PR - Farmers’ Behavioural Inclinations And Their Influence On The Anticipated Response To The Reform Of The Common Agricultural Policy
Recently the University of Reading has completed a project on behalf of Defra (Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs) to understand the behaviour and motivation of farmers in adjusting to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), particularly to the Single Payment Scheme. This research provides interesting insights into how farmers can be expected to use the Single Payment (SP). In the literature on goals and objectives, the main interest is in ascertaining farmers’ motivations for being in farming. The Reading project has created an ‘influence’ model to identify the factors that are likely to determine farmers’ responses, in a differentiated way, to the unprecedented event of the SP. The Reading typology of farmers is a refined set of behavioural types, capable of providing insights into farmers’ intentions with regard to the SP. The project has used data from a survey, which used a postal questionnaire with a stratified (by region and farm type) random sample of 3,000 farmers in England in January 2006. Some 683 useable responses to 25 statements on “objectives” in farming, and 26 statements on “values” were generated. The questionnaire also elicited farmers’ attitudes and likely responses to the introduction of the SP. A set of six behavioural responses were identified through discussion with farmers including a general response of changing one’s farming system and practices in the next five years, and five specific ways of applying the SP. The analysis of farmers’ responses shows that of the five potential methods of using the SP, the most likely to be adopted is to regard it as a substitute for the previous production-linked subsidies. The respondents felt that family members, business partners, accountants and the farming press would strongly support changing the farming system and practices as a result of the SP, while Defra, land agents and other farmers would be indifferent or against the idea. Amongst all five farmer types the family is the strongest influence. Referents fall into three distinct categories: referents external to the farm business, farming peers, and those that are internal to the business (including family members and business partners). Attitudes, perceived behavioural control and the views of others all have a significant influence on farmers’ behavioural intentions with respect to the use of the SP.