Producer perceptions and information needs regarding their adoption of bioenergy crops

María B. Villamil, Myles Alexander, Anne Heinze Silvis, Michael E. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The availability of reliable information tailored to the needs of producers has a central role in the innovation decision process in agriculture. The authors explored the information needs and preferences for delivery formats and channels of farmers in the state of Illinois, USA, as they consider introducing bioenergy crops in their current production systems. We used surveys and focus groups to target farming populations from northern, central, and southern regions of the state to identify characteristics of potential adopters and evidence of regional differences. In addition, we examined farmers' planning in response to energy uncertainties, and their opinions regarding the optimal crop to meet energy demands. Across the state, 24% of respondents were identified as potential adopters of bioenergy crops; regions within the state showed similar results. The likelihood of adoption increased 16 times if the farmer was categorized as a potential user of alternative fuels and increased two times for each new crop planned for the coming growing season. Four main areas of information needs were identified and categorized as (1) understanding agronomy and markets, (2) concerns and supporting policies, (3) market readiness and business uncertainty, and (4) operational advantages. Though no interaction of region by adopter was found, there are clear statistical differences among regions and potential adopters regarding information needs. Conferences, meetings and field days (venues with a high level of interaction among stakeholders) are preferred delivery formats. Other farmers, neighbors and friends, as well as university and extension services, were the most valued sources of information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3604-3612
Number of pages9
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Adopters
  • Channels and sources
  • Energy crops
  • Farmer perceptions
  • Survey methodology
  • Users

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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