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Index Geophysics

A good farmer pays attention to the weather


Title (Dublin Core)

A good farmer pays attention to the weather

Description (Dublin Core)

A key message of the 2014 US 3rd National Climate Assessment report is that climate change poses threats to agriculture and will require adaptation and mitigation by farmers. In the upper Midwest, the increase in total precipitation and a 37% increase in very heavy precipitation over the past 40 years are expected to continue and affect the productivity of corn-based cropping systems. The current situation and weather projections suggest that in the future, significant degradation of soil and water resources can be expected. While a number of adaptive management strategies have potential to address soil erosion, poor water quality, and production losses, farmer responses to a changing climate are not well understood. The research presented here examines how farmers’ self-identity as “a good farmer” can translate into specific incremental and transformative adaptations of farming strategies. Analysis of a 2012 survey of 4778 upper Midwest farmers finds that three nodes in the identity control model, the biophysical situation, reflected appraisals comprised of a set of beliefs which are sources of information input, and a farmer’s identities, influence variations in selected adaptive management practices. The biophysical situation (flooding, drought, saturated soils, and/or having a river run through the farm) are significant explanatory variables in seven of the eight models and farmer’s identities, conservationist and/or productivist, are significant in all models. This is evidence that farmers are paying attention to the biophysical situation as well as being guided by their own understandings of themselves as good farmers in making decisions about their farm operation. More research is needed to better understand what activates identities, core values and beliefs and how some values are privileged over others in adaptive decisions. This work suggests that educators and policymakers should focus on interventions, incentives and policies that activate the farmer’s conservationist identity to increase adaptations that protect the agroecosystem in the longer term.

Creator (Dublin Core)

Lois Wright Morton
Jean M. McGuire
Alicia D. Cast

Subject (Dublin Core)

Farmer identity
Climate change
Adaptive management
Pulse and press events
Meteorology. Climatology

Publisher (Dublin Core)


Date (Dublin Core)


Type (Dublin Core)


Identifier (Dublin Core)


Source (Dublin Core)

Climate Risk Management, Vol 15, Iss C, Pp 18-31 (2017)

Language (Dublin Core)


Relation (Dublin Core)

Provenance (Dublin Core)

Journal Licence: CC BY-NC-ND