Climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and adaptation behavior among Midwestern U.S. crop farmers

Amber Saylor Mase, Benjamin M. Gramig, Linda Stalker Prokopy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global climate change presents unique challenges to the resilience of United States agriculture, and farmers and advisors must utilize effective adaptation strategies to be both economically and environmentally sustainable. This study addresses Midwestern U.S. crop farmers’ beliefs about climate change, perceived risks from weather and climate, and attitudes toward adaptation that influence their decisions to adopt adaptation strategies. Analyzing a 2012 survey of nearly 5000 corn farmers across 22 Midwestern U.S. Watersheds, we investigate the most common weather and climate risk management strategies, including purchasing additional crop insurance, implementing conservation practices, and adding new technology. U.S. farmers’ belief in anthropogenic climate change, perceptions of changing weather patterns, climate risks to their farm and attitudes toward adapting are analyzed. Farmers’ perceptions of risk to their own farm, attitudes toward innovation and adaptation attitudes were the most important determinants of adaptation. This study highlights the critical role of risk perceptions in adaptation attitudes as well as behaviors among agriculturalists. Finally, we discuss how these findings could be applied to increase uptake of adaptation strategies and thus resilience of U.S. agriculture to a changing climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-17
Number of pages10
JournalClimate Risk Management
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation behavior
  • Agriculture
  • Climate change
  • Risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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