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Researching Farmers Possibilities and Motivation for Including Environmental Aspects in their Management

Halberg, Niels (1998) Researching Farmers Possibilities and Motivation for Including Environmental Aspects in their Management. In: Rural and Farming Systems Analyses Environmental Perspectives, Rural and Farming Systems Analyses Environmental Perspectives, pp. 103-113.

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The more than ten year old focus on the negative impact from intensive farming on the
environment in Denmark challenges the agricultural sector as a whole and the individual
farms in particular. Public pressure to strengthen the regulation of the farmers’ use of inputs threatens to raise costs and bind the individual farmer by detailed rules for crop rotation, fertiliser strategy etc. At the same time, there is evidence that this type of general regulation is not sufficient to reduce the environmental impact compared with overall goals (for instance, the goal of reducing nitrate leaching and pesticide use by 50% before 1997 has failed). This has lead to increased pressure to use economic regulation (nitrogen taxes etc.) which the farmers’ unions have been able to avoid so far (except for a very small pesticide tax). Also, authorities increasingly try to protect groundwater in zones of special interest as drinking water reservoirs by severely limiting agricultural production or even by expropriating farmland for reforestation projects. Moreover, new issues concerning for instance, landscape aesthetics and biodiversity are even more complicated to regulate using only nation-wide
legislation and economic incentives. For these reasons, both farmers and authorities have interests in finding ways to stimulate the inclusion of environmental aspects in the local development of agricultural systems in different parts of the country.
Based on this background, this paper will
• present results from the co-operation over a four year period (1993-97) with 20 private
conventional and organic livestock farms concerning the development of an ethical
accounting system. The approach will be described and the farmers’ reactions discussed.
Examples of indicators used and the variation of indicator values between the farms and years will be presented.
• present a new project using the decision aid in co-operation with 30 neighbouring farmers in a small region with potential conflicts concerning drinking water quality. The ideas behind this project will be presented to facilitate a discussion of the possibilities for creating bottom-up solutions to important environmental goals in society.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Poster
Keywords:farming systems;indicators; management; environment
Subjects: Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication
Farming Systems
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation: Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Deposited By: Kirkegaard, Lene/LKI
ID Code:13121
Deposited On:21 Apr 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:36
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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