Defra have published a CCRI lead report that investigated farmer attitudes to environmental management. The project was managed by CCRI’s Jane Mills, who had the following to say about the project:
We have just completed a 2 year project undertaken by ourselves, Fera and Exeter University which explores arable farmers’ motivations for undertaking environmental management activities on their farm, either within a funded scheme or voluntarily. Thanks to the help of 60 case study farmers we were able to explore their reasons for undertaking any environmental management work on their farms and whether they thought this was actually benefiting the environment. The research found that farmers are not solely driven by financial motivations to undertake environmental practices, but other factors play a part such as a personal interest in the environment, game shoots, a sense of social responsibility or farming self-image. The research also showed that farmers today have a much more positive attitude to environmental management than previous generations, but tend to restrict their environmental activities to the margins of the fields where it has less impact on agricultural production. If we want farmers to help species, such as skylarks, that are dependent on appropriate management within arable fields, then some form of funding may be required to persuade farmers to adopt these more challenging practices.