Agri-environmental measures play an important role in Italian rural areas, as shown by the financial commitment to the Rural Development programmes. However, in contrast with other European Union (EU) countries, policy-makers still have limited experience on how farmers approach environmental incentive schemes. This paper casts new light on this issue from a northern Italian perspective. The rationale of the farmers'decision-making process is explored using two multinomial models. The first explains the probability of non-participation or participation in one of three specific agri-environmental measures. The model outcomes show that labour-intensive farming types and high dependency of household income on farming activity constrain farmers'participation, whereas previous experience, easy-to-implement environmentally friendly farm practices and adequate compensation of extra costs encourage participation. The second model explores the effect of farmers'attitudes and beliefs on their predispositions towards participation in any of the schemes. The results highlight that, besides income factors, the farm's future in the business, and the relationship with neighbouring farmers and their opinions on environmentally friendly practices all have significant effects on adoption of agri-environmental measures. The paper concludes by suggesting that farmers'attitudes and beliefs, as well as the local behavioural influences, have to be taken into account when designing and communicating agri-environmental measures.
- Agri-environmental schemes
- Farmers' participation