The Role of Social Support on Midwestern Farmers’ Willingness to Grow Perennial Bioenergy Crops

Themes: Sustainability

Keywords: Economics


Yang, B.Yang, P.Golub, E.Cai, X. July 7, 2023. “The Role of Social Support on Midwestern Farmers’ Willingness to Grow Perennial Bioenergy Crops.” Biomass and Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2023.106898.


A visualization of the SEM, showing only statistically significant variables (***P<0.1)

The lack of farmers’ willingness to grow perennial bioenergy crops (PBCs) presents a critical barrier to the emergence of cellulosic biofuel production. The willingness relies on a complex network of economic, environmental, and social drivers, among which the influence of social factors (e.g., the influence of neighborhood, community, and communication) is less understood. This study addresses this knowledge gap via a survey analysis of midwestern farmers. The survey data are analyzed through ordinary least square regression and structural equation model, which together investigate the individual and interactive impacts of multiple factors on farmers’ decisions to adopt PBCs. Based on a farm-scale analysis, six statistically significant predictors of farmer willingness to grow PBCs are identified: perception of PBCs’ environment benefits, education level, willingness to take risks, familiarity with PBCs, portion of peers already growing PBCs, and support of biorefineries locating in the local community. Among these, the latter three predictors are social support variables. It is found that familiarity with the crops is the most significant predictor of willingness; familiarity is also an important intermediate variable that mediates the influence of many other predictors. In addition, peer adoption can both directly and indirectly affect willingness via its influence on familiarity. These findings suggest that it is a pressing need to improve farmers’ knowledge of PBCs to promote the adoption of such crops.


Download (42 KB) includes:

  • Farmer willingness/familiarity
  • Variables
  • Final demographics