Are conventional farmers conventional? Analysis of the environmental orientations of conventional New Zealand farmers
Campbell, Hugh; Hunt, Lesley; Rosin, Chris; Fairweather, John
Within the political economy of agriculture and agrofood literatures there are examples of approaches that reject simple dichotomies between alternatives and the mainstream. In line with such approaches, we challenge the assumption that alternative agriculture, and its attendant improved environmental practices, alternative management styles, less intensive approaches, and better approaches to animal and ecosystem welfare, is the only source of agricultural sustainability. This article uses national farm-survey results for New Zealand's sheep and beef, dairy, and horticulture sectors to examine conventional farmers, measure their assessments of farming practices, and assess their environmental orientation. Analysis identifies a proenvironmental cluster of farmers in each sector characterized by a higher environmental-orientation score and distinct ratings of other farm practices queried in the survey. We interpret the results in terms of the exposure of different agricultural sectors to the effects of market-based, audited, best-practice schemes. The presence of shades of “greenness” among conventional farmers has important implications for environmental management and for our understanding of the various and complex pathways toward the greening of agrofood systems.
Rights Statement: Copyright © 2009, by the Rural Sociological Society
Keywords: ARGOS; New Zealand; sustainability; Conventionalisation; environment; Agriculture
Research Type: Journal Article