Agricultural Adaptation, Mitigation, and Constrained Choices: Evidence from the U.S. Midwest

Fri, October 29, 2021 10:00 AM at Zoom

Qualifying Paper Presentation by Kristina Beethem entitled "Agricultural Adaptation, Mitigation, and Constrained Choices: Evidence from the U.S. Midwest." This will take place over Zoom.

Abstract: Agriculture is simultaneously vulnerable to and a contributor to a number of environmental issues, such as water quality, soil degradation, and climate change. Agricultural management practices provide one method for both adapting to the threat of environmental problems and mitigating them. However, farmers make these decisions within a broader socio-economic context which influences and sometimes constrains their choices. In this paper, I build on the existing agricultural practice adoption literature by utilizing treadmill of production theory to examine the factors that predict farmers’ use of practices to adapt to or mitigate issues like climate change. My empirical analysis uses structural equation modeling with latent variables to study 2019 survey data from farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.  Results indicate that farmers’ attitudes, beliefs, and environmental awareness differentially predict adaptation and mitigation practice use. These findings suggest that adaptation to protect crop yield and farm income is promoted under the current treadmill system, while mitigation to ameliorate problems beyond the scope of the farm is constrained.