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Uncertainty and Adoption of Sustainable Farming Systems


  • Pannell, David J.


Uncertainty has been under-recognised as an impediment to the adoption of innovative land conservation practices. High levels of uncertainty inhibit adoption because (a) most farmers are psychologically averse to risk and uncertainty, (b) uncertainty leaves room for misunderstanding and misperceptions about the innovation and (c) in some cases there can be an option value from not trialing. A framework is presented that emphasises that adoption is a process involving collection, integration and evaluation of new information (i.e., reduction in uncertainty over time). Thereafter the paper discusses the range of factors that contribute to high uncertainty about conservation innovations, factors that reduce the potential for trials to reduce this uncertainty, and factors that contribute to the high cost of trials of conservation technologies. Some clear implications for policy approaches to land degradation are identified.

Suggested Citation

  • Pannell, David J., 1999. "Uncertainty and Adoption of Sustainable Farming Systems," 1999 Conference (43th), January 20-22, 1999, Christchurch, New Zealand 124511, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aare99:124511

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pluske, Johanna M. & Fraser, Rob W., 1995. "Can Producers Place Valid and Reliable Valuations on Wool Price-Risk Information?," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 63(02), August.
    2. Shapiro, Barry Ira & Brorsen, B. Wade & Doster, D. Howard, 1992. "Adoption Of Double-Cropping Soybeans And Wheat," Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 24(02), December.
    3. Bardsley, Peter & Harris, Michael, 1987. "An Approach To The Econometric Estimation Of Attitudes To Risk In Agriculture," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 31(02), August.
    4. John W. Cary & Roger L. Wilkinson, 1997. "Perceived Profitability And Farmers' Conservation Behaviour," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1-3), pages 13-21.
    5. Sinden, Jack A. & King, David A., 1990. "Adoption of Soil Conservation Measures in Manilla Shire, New South Wales," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 58, December.
    6. Tsur, Yacov & Sternberg, Menachem & Hochman, Eithan, 1990. "Dynamic Modelling of Innovation Process Adoption with Risk Aversion and Learning," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 336-355, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nunez, Jennifer & McCann, Laura M.J., 2004. "Crop Farmers' Willingness to Use Manure," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 19932, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

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