The potential for collaborative agri-environment schemes in England : can a well-designed collaborative approach address farmers’ concerns with current schemes?
This paper argues that the success of agri-environment schemes (AES) in relation to certain species and resources has been inhibited by the piecemeal implementation of Environmental Stewardship (ES) on the basis of single farm agreements. Recent policy emphasis on the creation of large ‘ecological networks’ it is likely that ES will take on an increasingly collaborative dimension and be extended so as to encompass farmers that have hitherto entered ES on an individual basis, or, that have not previously participated in ES at all. In light of this, we present a first look at the receptivity of farmers to the idea of collaborative agri-environment schemes (cAES) based on semi-structured interviewing in three English case-study areas. We seek to contextualise farmers’ receptivity to cAES in terms of their existing level of cooperative activity and the extent of their current involvement in ES. Based on qualitative socio-cultural interpretation we argue that a lack of communication and mutual understanding between farmers; a cultural imperative for independence and timeliness, and; alternative interpretations of risk amongst farmers present potential barriers to cAES. Despite these potential barriers, however, we also argue that, if designed appropriately, cAES has the potential to encourage farmers’ participation in ES by virtue of the fact that it can be seen to overcome certain concerns that farmers hold about the existing ES schemes. In particular, cAES is likely to gain support from farmers where it is seen to offer greater flexibility; scope for farmer involvement in the design of the scheme; locally targeted and clearly defined aims, and; demonstrable benefits that can be monitored as a record of success. We provide policy recommendations and suggest that cAES has the potential to deliver greater environmental benefits, whilst at the same time encouraging farmers’ participation in, and satisfaction with, agri-environment schemes.
Emery, Steven B. and Franks, Jeremy R (2012) The potential for collaborative agri-environment schemes in England : can a well-designed collaborative approach address farmers’ concerns with current schemes?. Journal of rural studies. 28 (3), pp. 218-231 Oxford: Pergamon, Elsevier.
Emery Steven B. and Franks Jeremy R. The potential for collaborative agri-environment schemes in England : can a well-designed collaborative approach address farmers’ concerns with current schemes?. Journal of rural studies 2012; 28 (3): 218-231.