Posted: October 19, 2020

Farmers note connection between extreme precipitation and climate change.

Farmers whose operations have been negatively impacted by changing precipitation patterns--either too much or not enough water--are more likely to acknowledge the link between extreme weather conditions and climate change.

That is one of the findings of a study examining farmers' perceptions of resource availability and climate change, published in Organization and the Environment.

"Droughts, flooding, changing temperatures, and crop losses due to insects and disease are more prevalent than ever before," said Leland Glenna, professor of rural sociology and science, technology, and society. "Despite the threat, many producers do not acknowledge that climate change is occurring or that it is caused by humans."

Glenna and Yetkin Borlu, then a postdoctoral researcher, conducted the four-year study, which involved mail and web-based surveys and personal interviews with apple and wine grape producers in California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

The researchers found that across the board, producers who have experienced problems with or perceive water availability as a potential problem were more likely to think that it is related to climate change. The researchers also learned that farmers who sell their produce in local communities are more likely to acknowledge climate change.

Glenna hopes the study will advance discussion on climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

--Amy Duke