The growing awareness of the negative impact of agriculture on the natural environment creates social expectation towards the reduction of this impact through the pro-environmental activities of farmers. Agri-environmental programmes are one of the key instruments of EU agricultural policy aimed at encouraging farmers to do so. Due to their voluntary nature and involvement of farmers in these activities, there has been a scientific discussion for a long time on the factors determining the participation of farmers in these programmes. Numerous analyses carried out mainly for agriculture of Western European countries, do not give unequivocal answers on the factors which influence the involvement of farmers in agri-environmental measures, which additionally might be different for Central-Eastern Europe. This is a significant problem for policymakers deciding on the distribution of financial support. Our analysis of 594 commercial farms, a subsample of the Polish FADN (Farm Accountancy Data Network), uses both FADN data and the outcomes of interviews with farmers. Results show that farmers who see a clear economic interest for their farm, most often participate in AES (Agri-environmental Schemes). Risk aversion turned out also to be an important determinant but is rarely analysed in the literature. On the other hand, factors related to the attitudes of farmers towards the environment have a small impact (if any) on participation. This is important information for policymakers, as it indicates the educational needs in terms of farmers' understanding of the relationship between farming and the environment, and also indicates that moving away from the model of incentives based on financial incentives would probably involve a reduction in the scale of agri-environmental measures by farmers.
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Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.
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