Farmers' Perception of their Decision-Making in Relation to Policy Schemes: A Comparison of Case Studies from Switzerland and the United States

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Land Use Policy

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Farmers are decision-makers in a complex system of cause and effect. They decide with respect to their own attitude and beliefs, according to their farm structure and they take into account programs and regulations of the overarching policy scheme. In this paper we used mail surveys with identical questions to establish a cross-national comparison of two case study areas. The questionnaire investigates farmer's perspectives on what influences their own decision-making as well as their perception of the socio-ecological environment to relate these findings to the respective policy schemes in the case study areas. The two case studies are located in Southern Illinois, United States and in central Switzerland. The analysis shows that full-time farmers of the Southern Illinois case study area rate constraining factors such as financial aspects higher than Southern Illinois part-time farmers and farmers from the central Switzerland case study area. Furthermore, it is apparent that Swiss case study-farmers rate aspects of their land use responsibility and the Illinois case study-farmers rate ecological aspects higher. The empirical findings can be qualitatively explained through analysis of agricultural policy schemes.

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