Social Sciences, Microeconomics and Decision Sciences; dairy farming; sustainability; organic farming; technology acceptance model; structural equation modeling
The goal of the study was to assess the farmers’ acceptance of three sustainable production strategies, namely ‘Agro-forestry’, ‘Alternative protein source’ and ‘Prolonged maternal feeding’. Data on the acceptance of these strategies were collected by a survey of dairy farmers in six EU countries (AT, BE, DK, FI, IT, UK). An extended version of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was applied by means of Structural Equation Modelling to testing various hypotheses on attitudes and intentions of dairy farmers towards these novel production strategies, as well as the influence of organic practices and collaborative behaviours along the supply chain. We found that the most preferred strategy - across all countries - was soy substitution by alternative protein sources. We also found that the intention to adopt a sustainable production strategy may derive from the influence of opinions (and behaviours) of relevant others, showing the role of interactions among farmers and other stakeholders in the adoption of innovations. Finally, the perceived usefulness of all investigated strategies is higher for organic farmers, while collaborative patterns reduce the impact of subjective norm on usefulness and overall acceptance. Our findings should encourage policy makers to consider the important role of supply chain management practices, including collaboration, to enhance the sustainability of dairy farming systems.