Farmers Think Hard Before Planting Biofuel Crops

by Christina Whalen

Using Kansas as an example, White et al. (2012) examine the various factors that influence farmer decision-making during this controversial era of climate change and energy conservation. A conceptual model for understanding farmer’s decisions was developed from interviews conducted with a diversity of farmers and key informants. Interestingly enough, results demonstrate that most farmers hold a positive perception of the natural environment and don’t have a strong concern about climate change issues. The guiding factors of farmer’s decisions about whether or not to cultivate biofuel crops are the relative advantages of the practice and the ability to discuss the practice with a social network. There is a strong need to create a renewable energy market in the U.S. because of its potential to reduce greenhouse gases and increase production benefits; biofuel crops pose one plausible solution. The paper addresses the following question: considering global climate and energy concerns, what are the main influences on farmer’s decisions regarding land use, specifically the decision to cultivate biofuel crops? Continue reading