New CCRI paper in Land Use Policy

A paper written by Jane Mills, Pete Gaskell and Julie Ingram, together with Stephen Chaplin of Natural England, has been published in Land Use Policy.

The paper – ‘Understanding farmers’ motivations for providing unsubsidised environmental benefits’ – explores farmers’ motivations for undertaking unsubsidised practices that benefit the environment on their farms. The paper draws on responses from a national survey in England of 1,345 farmers, in-depth face-to-face interviews with 60 farmers and an analysis of existing agri-environment scheme data. The research found that around 25% of all environmental activity undertaken on arable farms in England is unsubsidised, although some of this activity sits alongside subsidised activity.

There were clear differences between the motivations for undertaking subsidised and unsubsidised environmental activities. Financial reasons dominated farmers’ motivations for engaging in subsidised agri-environment scheme practices, whilst agronomic and environmental motivations were of greater importance for unsubsidised activity. Data analysis also revealed over-subscription in agri-environment schemes, with a considerable amount of environmental activity occurring without payment. From a policy perspective, these findings are useful to help inform the design of advice and message framing to encourage uptake of more widespread voluntary environmental behaviour.