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Published in: Environmental Management 6/2016

22-09-2016 | Original Article

Climate Change Perceptions of NY State Farmers: The Role of Risk Perceptions and Adaptive Capacity

Authors: Bruno Takahashi, Morey Burnham, Carol Terracina-Hartman, Amanda R Sopchak, Theresa Selfa

Published in: Environmental Management | Issue 6/2016

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Abstract

Climate change is expected to severely impact agricultural practices in many important food-producing regions, including the Northeast United States. Changing climate conditions, such as increases in the amount of rainfall, will require farmers to adapt. Yet, little is known with regard to farmers’ perceptions and understandings about climate change, especially in the industrialized country context. This paper aims at overcoming this research limitation, as well as determining the existing contextual, cognitive, and psychological barriers that can prevent adoption of sustainable practices of farmers in New York State. The study is framed within the adaptive capacity and risk perception literature, and is based on a qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with farmers in 21 farms in two counties in Central New York. The results reveal diverging views about the long-term consequences of climate change. Results also reveal that past experience remains as the most important source of information that influences beliefs and perceptions about climate change, confirming previous research.
Footnotes
1
NY State legislators Farley, Tedisco, Amedore, Lopez and Senate Agriculture Chair Ritchie introduced in 2012 the bill “Family Farmers and Apple Growers Relief Act.”
 
2
According to the Census for Agriculture conducted by USDA in 2012, Onondaga County had 681 farms and Cayuga County had 891 farms.
 
4
The 21 interviews were part of a larger project that included interviews with other farmers who did not fit the sampling criteria for this study. This explains why some interviews in the results section are listed with higher numbers than 21 (e.g. Interview 39).
 
5
The reasons that farmers declined to be interviewed were as follows: no interest (n = 9), farms being farmers’ markets or no longer in operation (n = 11), and call not returned (n = 13). Limitations of the sampling approach are reviewed in the discussion section.
 
6
Not all participants recorded an answer to every question and not all responses are mutually exclusive.
 
7
This farm has almost 200 acres and mostly makes hay for horses, and oats.
 
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Metadata
Title
Climate Change Perceptions of NY State Farmers: The Role of Risk Perceptions and Adaptive Capacity
Authors
Bruno Takahashi
Morey Burnham
Carol Terracina-Hartman
Amanda R Sopchak
Theresa Selfa
Publication date
22-09-2016
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Environmental Management / Issue 6/2016
Print ISSN: 0364-152X
Electronic ISSN: 1432-1009
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-016-0742-y