Beyond the economic: Farmer practices and identities in Central Illinois, USA

David Wilson, Michael Urban, Martha Graves, Dawn Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the reasons farmers in East-Central Illinois continue to use controversial agricultural practices in the context of extreme criticism. Such practices - conventional plow tillage, application of potent agricultural chemicals, farming up to river banks - are attacked from diverse sources as inattentive to environmental conservation. Our results suggest these practices are important undertakings in the realm of constituting farmer identities that too few have realized. These practices, as meaning-laced endeavors, are revealed as performative acts that reinforce sense of farmer sense of self. We conclude that this reality is important to understand if policy is to effectively engage these farmers and their agricultural practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalGreat Lakes Geographer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Best management practices
  • Cultural identity
  • Farming practices
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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