Education levels are declining in young male farmers
Environmental decisions taken by farmers often depend on their age, gender, and formal education. Changes in these demographic variables are therefore important for designing long-term environmental policies. However, studies on the effect of demographic variables on environmental behavior often show conflicting results.
A study recently published in Agricultural & Environmental Letters used mail survey data (n = 3069) to determine whether education levels of landowners in rural southwestern Ontario, Canada varied with age, gender, and occupation (“farmer” or “non-farmer”). Education level was shown to increase with decreasing age in all landowners with the exception of male farmers where the opposite trend was observed. This striking result highlights the importance of taking into account interactions among demographic variables.
The unexpected decrease in education level in young male farmers is cause for concern and may need to be taken into consideration by policymakers in the design and implementation of agri-environmental programming.