CANADIAN HORTICULTURAL GROWERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF BENEFICIAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR IMPROVED ON-FARM WATER MANAGEMENT
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ANA-MARIA BOGDAN, SUREN N. KULSHRESHTHA
What factors influence farmers’ perceptions of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) and why does that matter? Determinants of farmers’ adoption of BMPs have been extensively researched. This is how we know that a farmer’s decision-making process of adopting a BMP is complex, and it can be influenced by many factors, which can be broadly categorized under farmers’ personal characteristics, farm salient features, properties of the BMP considered for adoption, and other contextual factors — social, economic, political, ecological, etc. Although this body of knowledge is comprehensive, it lacks the exploration of factors that contribute to understanding farmers’ perceptions of BMPs, which play an important role in adoption decisions. This article focuses on identifying factors that contribute to farmers’ perceptions of BMPs as better alternatives for their farms. Data for this study were collected through an online survey, containing responses of 70 fruit and vegetable growers in Ontario and Quebec. An ordered logit regression model was constructed to identify the factors influencing farmers’ perception of the proposed BMPs as better alternatives. Results suggest that farmers with more farming experience and higher levels of educational attainment, as well as those without exclusive financial goals, and who perceived the BMPs to be expensive, were less likely to perceive the proposed BMPs as better alternatives in the context of their farm. However, growers gaining a larger percentage of their revenue from the crop under study, and those who thought that making best use of scarce resources (by reducing water use) was important, were more likely to perceive the proposed BMPs as better alternatives. These findings are important because they can provide a glimpse into the determinants of these perceptions which in turn are so influential in the adoption decision-making process.
agricultural water management, adoption diffusion, beneficial management practices, farmer decision-making, perceptions of BMPs, Eastern Canada