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Converting or not converting to organic farming in Austria:Farmer types and their rationale


  • Ika Darnhofer


  • Walter Schneeberger
  • Bernhard Freyer


Reasons for converting to organic farming have been studied in a number of instances. However, the underlying rationale that motivates the behavior is not always made clear. This study aims to provide a detailed picture of farmers’ decision-making and illustrate the choice between organic and conventional farm management. Based on 21 interviews with farmers, a decision-tree highlighting the reasons and constraints involved in the decision of farmers to use, or not to use, organic production techniques was formulated. The accuracy of the decision-tree was tested through a written survey of 65 randomly sampled farmers. The decision-tree permits the identification of decision criteria and examines the decision-making process of farmers in choosing their farming method. It also allows for the characterization of farmer strategies and values, identifying five types of farmers: the “committed conventional;” the “pragmatic conventional;” the “environment-conscious but not organic;” the “pragmatic organic;” and the “committed organic.” The importance of taking into account heterogeneity in farmers’ attitudes, preferences, and goals and their impact on the choice of a farming method is emphasized. Copyright Springer 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Ika Darnhofer & Walter Schneeberger & Bernhard Freyer, 2005. "Converting or not converting to organic farming in Austria:Farmer types and their rationale," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 22(1), pages 39-52, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:22:y:2005:i:1:p:39-52
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-004-7229-9

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