QMU psychology researchers have developed a farmers’ decision-making model to identify the influences of socio-economic, psychological, and farming variables on farmers' decisions.
Understanding the influences on farmers’ business-oriented and environmentally-oriented decisions is important for farmers themselves and environmental policy-makers. Prior to our study, research into farmers’ decision-making emphasised the roles of economic variables while paying little regard to other factors. From analysis of the data we demonstrated how the model could explain farmers’ business-oriented and environmentally oriented behaviours.
Ongoing research found that environmentally-related behaviour was more likely for farmers who scored high on extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness, and high on cognitive ability, and for farmers with larger farms.
This work resulted in policy recommendations to the Scottish Government to promote environmentally-orientated behaviour to support compliance with the European Union Nitrates Directive, to identify areas at risk of nitrate contamination and to reduce or prevent future contamination of the environment.
Ongoing impact has been demonstrated through implementation of continued Government guidance to promote environmentally-orientated behaviour among farmers.