The roles of farm advisors in the uptake of measures for the mitigation of diffuse water pollution

Emilie Vrain, Andrew Lovett

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Governments face increasing pressure to implement effective policy to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA). Various strategies and combinations of policy mechanisms have been adopted by different countries to change farmer behaviours with varying degrees of success. This paper focuses on the use of advice delivery to farmers as a mechanism to encourage uptake of DWPA mitigation measures on farms in England.Farm advisory services in England have dramatically changed over recent years, with concerns that the sector has become fragmented due to many organisations and businesses offering advice. This paper studies the role of various farm advisors and organisations providing one-to-one advice by interviewing 81 farm advisors in three agriculturally contrasting regions of England: East Anglia, the North West and South West. Objectives were to assess: which DWPA mitigation measures are being recommended by different advisors? How do recommendations differ between sources of advice and is there any conflict? And which mechanisms do advisors use to influence uptake of advice?Results from the interviews indicate that the advice delivered and the mechanisms used to influence uptake of advice vary between organisations and some advisors do indeed have particular roles within the farm advisory sector. Policy makers therefore need to consider not only what mitigation measures should be encouraged, but also which organisations and advisors are best placed to deliver on the ground advice to farmers. There is also scope to incorporate understandings of farm advice provision into catchment management plans to aid effectiveness of future agri-environmental policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date10 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Diffuse agricultural water pollution
  • Farm advice
  • Mitigation measures
  • Policy mechanisms

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