This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Barriers to Adoption of Sustainable Agriculture Practices in the South: Change Agents Perpectives




Rodriguez, Baide

Type of Degree



Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


Current conventional agriculture systems of production lead to environmental degradation, economic problems, and even social problems. The efficacy of sustainable agriculture systems in guaranteeing economic, environmental, and social sustainability of farming operations has been demonstrated. This qualitative study is based on a semi structured survey instrument designed to find the barriers to adoption of sustainable agriculture practices. It was found that despite having support from change agents, farmers are rarely adopting sustainable practices. Change agents are not well prepared to attend to farmers’ needs regarding adoption of sustainable agriculture. Thus, farmers vi have also experienced challenges to obtain accurate information, especially information about the benefits of adoption of sustainable agriculture. Many economic barriers are also identified by change agents. Government support programs are failing to encourage adoption due lack of funding, inappropriate design, and ineffective targeting of clients. Reluctance to change is frequently mentioned by change agents, but more as a way of blaming farmers for non-adoption than explaining reasons for this behavior. Social barriers, land tenure, infrastructure, and incompatibility are other significant barriers to adoption. Strategies such as improved management of the existent information, careful design of economic support programs, extension efforts addressed to change agents and the public, could help overcome some of the barriers identified by change agents.