Investigating farmers' preferences for the design of agri-environment schemes: a choice experiment approach
In recent decades agri-environment schemes (AES) have become an increasingly important tool for policy makers aiming to reverse the post-war decline in environmental quality on agricultural land. The voluntary nature of such schemes means that the decision of farmers to participate is central to achieving policy objectives. Therefore, this paper uses a choice experiment approach to investigate the role that scheme design can have on encouraging farmers to participate. Choice data was gathered from a survey of farmers in 10 case study areas across the EU and analysed using both mixed logit and latent class models. In general, farmers were found to require greater financial incentives to join schemes with longer contracts or that offer less flexibility or higher levels of paperwork. It was also observed that a large segment of farmers ('low resistance adopters') would be willing to accept relatively small incentive payments for their participation in schemes offering relatively little flexibility and high levels of additional paperwork, when compared to a contrasting segment of 'high resistance adopters'.
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