Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 403644
Title Mega farms: sustainable food production systems or bare and austere animal flats? A case study into perceptions of scale increases in Dutch intensive animal husbandry
Author(s) Eilers, C.H.A.M.; Aarts, M.N.C.; Peet, G.F.V. van der; Schaik, M. van
Source In: Book of Abstracts of the Scaling and Governance Conference 2010 "Toward a New Knowledge for Scale Sensitive Governance of Complex Systems", Wageningen, The Netherlands, 11-12 November 2010. - - p. 73 - 74.
Event Scaling and Governance Conference 2010, Wageningen, 2010-11-10/2010-11-12
Department(s) Animal Production Systems
Communication Science
LR - Backoffice
WASS
WIAS
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2010
Abstract To relieve tensions among different functions of the rural area, i.e. agriculture, nature and landscape conservation, living and recreation, a restructuring of areas on sandy soils in the Netherlands was suggested. Such restructuring created opportunities for farmers to scale-up their intensive animal production in designated so-called agricultural development areas (ADAs). Neighbors were not happy with the ADAs and the increase in intensive animal production, and reacted by protesting. In this paper we explain the basis of the perceptions about scale increases in intensive animal production that citizens construct in interaction. We also gain insight into what happens when people feel ignored in policy development. Our empirical study shows that most respondents, irrespective of whether they are urban or rural, find scale increases in intensive animal production unacceptable. All respondents immediately associate such an increase with “mega” farms and “mega” farm buildings. Respondents who support scale increases are familiar with the agricultural sector. In addition, these respondents show cognitive dissonance by frequent efforts to defend themselves. This leads to the conclusion that the current norm is a non-acceptance of scale increases. Public support for scale increases in agriculture can be expected to lessen even further because more people live in cities and have fewer social ties with agriculture; the number of farmers is decreasing; and even years after the construction of mega farms elsewhere, opposition has continued. A decrease in public support may give rise to an increased level of opposition and self-organization of citizens with regard to issues about rural planning, as our study shows. As evidenced by the restructuring process, which was organized as a participatory process involving different stakeholders, such participatory procedures do not guarantee a successful policy result supported by all citizens. On the basis of our results, we recommend explaining clearly the goal of citizen participation and the extent to which citizens can influence policy processes. Secondly, the government should learn how to cope with self-organizing citizens by paying special attention to what happens in informal networks
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