December 11th Webinar: Can Behavioral Science Help Us Understand Farmer Decision-Making?

This year, we are partnering with Farm Credit East to host a series of four webinars focused on better understanding why and how change occurs in agriculture. Our goal for these sessions is to highlight examples where change has occurred so others—whether researchers, educators or policy makers—can consider how to apply these lessons to their own work. Following is more information about the first session to be held from 1 pm to 2 pm on December 11th at 1 p.m.

This session was recorded and can be viewed here. More information about the other sessions can be found here.

John Pickering, Founder and CEO, Evidn
Understanding Farmer Decision-Making. Many of the challenges faced in agriculture practice change ultimately involve the attitudes and behaviors of landholders. Landholders’ decision making about what practices or initiatives to adopt is based on a system of influences around them, incorporating economic, political, social and behavioral factors. This presentation will explore the drivers (and barriers) to farmer adoption and how behavioral insights can be applied to further enhance your own work. Insights and learnings from an agricultural behavior change project working to protect the New York’s Finger Lakes, Our Owasco, will also be shared. Our Owasco is working with landholders in the Owasco Lake watershed to accelerate the adoption of soil health best management practices.   

What if Ignorance Isn’t the Problem? Nudging Workers Towards Safer Work Practices. Julie Sorensen, NY Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, Bassett Healthcare Network.
As many farm owners know, showing someone the safer way to do something doesn’t always mean they’ll do it. Very often risky behaviors provide immediate benefits which can save time and effort (otherwise known as “shortcuts”), but potentially put the individual at risk. In this presentation, we will explore the field of Nudging (Behavioral Economics), which utilizes small, carefully designed adjustments to the worksite in order to effortlessly attract or redirect workers in the right direction. We will also provide an example of how this has been used on a mid-size dairy farm to improve worker communication and safety.