Habitus and Interest in Agroforestry Practices in Missouri

This study analyzes the factors driving interest in two agroforestry practices, riparian buffers and forest farming. Because agroforestry is outside main stream commodity production in US agriculture, the purpose is to evaluate a framework to understand attitudes. The framework incorporates Pierre Bourdieu's notions of "habitus" and "field" along with individual economic and demographic characteristics of farm operators' traditionally used in adoption studies. Four attitudes are analyzed: disengagers, conservatives, lifestyle, and accumulators. A Logit regression measures the effects of respondents' attitudes, and other internal and external factors to assess interest in each practice. The data used is from a household survey of 364 farm-operators from the Fox Wyaconda watershed in northeast Missouri and Scott County in southeast Missouri gathered in 1999. Findings show that a conservative or a lifestyle attitude, are significant, with high probability of being interested in riparian buffers. Those with an accumulator or a lifestyle attitude have a significant and high probability of being interested in forest farming. Other variables also significant in riparian buffer interest are knowledge of agroforestry, and interest in alternative farming practices, and especially having perceptions of erosion problems. In forest farming, a high value of farm and assets has a negative effect, while belonging to informal groups has a positive effect pointing to characteristics that do not belong to traditional farmers.

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Selected Paper 136919

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-24

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