Inderscience Publishers

Farm management systems and voluntary action: what can Germany learn from Canada?

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Following regulation EC 1782/2003, a policy scheme aimed at supporting farmers' compliance with societal requirements of sustainable land use was set up in Germany. Core elements of the measure are the introduction and voluntary application of Farm Management Systems (FMS) and the accompanying advisory services. This paper critically assesses the potentials of the German scheme with the help of concepts from organisational management, extension and motivational psychology. As a reference point, Canadian experiences with an environmental FMS – the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) programme in Ontario – are presented and reviewed. Here, voluntary participation by farmers is a result of personal motivation, complex social interactions and targeted support. Finally, consequences of the implementation of and research on the German policy scheme are discussed.

Keywords: cross-compliance, environmental management systems, EMS, motivational factors, agricultural advisory service, environmental assessment, discovery learning, environmental protection, voluntary approach, farm management systems, voluntary action, Germany, Canada, agriculture

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