Understanding Practice Change by Rural Landholders

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by: Prof Dave Pannell
Full details see: <a href="http://www.ruralpracticechange.org/">http://www.ruralpracticechange.org/</a>

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Understanding Practice Change by Rural Landholders

  1. 1. Understanding Practice Change by Rural Landholders David Pannell ARC Federation Fellow School of Agricultural and Resource Economics University of Western Australia
  2. 3. Key points <ul><li>Practice change depends on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The human dimension (learning, social processes, goals, perceptions, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The technologies (relative advantage, trialability) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Each practice has its own unique adoption story </li></ul><ul><li>For policy, extension and research, it pays to anticipate adoptability </li></ul>
  3. 4. The human dimension The innovative practice 
  4. 5. At the individual level <ul><li>It’s a learning process </li></ul><ul><li>Initially uncertainty is high </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. about a new pasture plant’s response to climate, soils, pests, weeds, inputs, grazing, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Over time, learning  uncertainty falls </li></ul><ul><li>Subjective perceptions – it’s personal </li></ul>
  5. 6. Learning process - stages <ul><li>Awareness of problem or opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Non-trial evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Trial evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Adoption (or not) </li></ul><ul><li>Review and modification </li></ul><ul><li>Disadoption </li></ul>Continuum Process is never complete
  6. 7. Social factors influence adoption <ul><li>Related to communication, trust, credibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical proximity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extension </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnic/cultural divisions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Related to benefits from adopting the practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Off-farm income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Property size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Age/education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reason for holding land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goals </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. A variety of goals <ul><li>(i) material wealth & financial security </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) environmental protection and enhancement </li></ul><ul><li>(iii) social approval and acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>(iv) personal integrity, ethics </li></ul><ul><li>(v) balance of work and lifestyle </li></ul>
  8. 9. Categories of adopters <ul><li>Kernal of truth </li></ul><ul><li>But given too much emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget the practices </li></ul><ul><li>An individual could be </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early adopter for a new crop variety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Laggard for a new pasture species </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. The human dimension The innovative practice 
  10. 11.  Characteristics of practices Relative advantage Trialability
  11. 12. Relative advantage <ul><li>Economic benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Profitability of practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Farming systems effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjustment cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Riskiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compatibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity cost </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Compatibility with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beliefs/values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand preference </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Environmental </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Values of landholder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Threats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits of practice </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. Relative advantage driving peak adoption
  13. 14. ‘ Convenience agriculture’ <ul><li>More management demands </li></ul><ul><li>Less time available </li></ul><ul><li>The challenge for ‘inconvenient’ agricultural practices </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. Intensive livestock systems? </li></ul>
  14. 15.  Characteristics of practices Relative advantage Trialability
  15. 16. Trialability <ul><li>How easy is it to get over the learning hump? </li></ul>
  16. 17. Factors reduce value of trialling <ul><li>Observability low or costly </li></ul><ul><li>Highly novel new practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Previous experience not transferable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Long time scales </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey of farmers in Upper Kent, 1997 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Of the farmers who invested in Landcare (e.g. drainage, trees, lucerne) less than half had observed any benefit </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Each practice has its own adoption story <ul><li>Influential factors </li></ul><ul><li>Time frame </li></ul><ul><li>Groups of adopters and non-adopters </li></ul>
  18. 19. Factors influencing no-till adoption <ul><li>Higher education </li></ul><ul><li>Participation in extension activities </li></ul><ul><li>Use of paid consultant </li></ul><ul><li>Years since first awareness of nearby no-till adopter </li></ul><ul><li>Occurrence of a very dry year </li></ul><ul><li>Fall in price of glyphosate </li></ul><ul><li>Location (region/state) & average rainfall </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness of pre-emergent herbicide (trifluralin) </li></ul><ul><li>Soil-moisture-conservation & seeding timeliness </li></ul>NOT SIGNIFICANT: Erosion risk; soil conservation benefits; Landcare 82% of decisions correctly predicted Source: D’ Emden et al. 2006
  19. 20. Factors influencing IWM adoption <ul><li>Higher use of extension </li></ul><ul><li>Higher education </li></ul><ul><li>Lower discount rate for future returns </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of higher ryegrass control (efficacy) </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of higher economic value of practices </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of longer time until new herbicide </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertainty of when new herbicide will be available </li></ul><ul><li>Higher proportion of the farm cropped </li></ul><ul><li>The resistance status of the farm </li></ul>86% of decisions correctly predicted Source: Llewellyn et al. 2006
  20. 21. It pays to anticipate adoptability <ul><li>Researchers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Target research effort to practices and technologies with better prospects </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. It pays to anticipate adoptability <ul><li>Extension </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustained adoption requires relative advantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ignoring that threatens credibility </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. It pays to anticipate adoptability <ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anticipate adoptability when considering policy responses (what mechanism, if any) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-adoption is generally for good reasons, especially if it persists </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Key points <ul><li>Practice change depends on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The human dimension (learning, social processes, goals, perceptions, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The technologies (relative advantage, trialability) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Each practice has its own unique adoption story </li></ul><ul><li>For policy, extension and research, it pays to anticipate adoptability </li></ul>

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