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Keywords:

  • bioenergy adoption;
  • energy crops;
  • farm operators;
  • Ireland;
  • motivations;
  • obstacles;
  • survey

Abstract

A survey of Irish farmers was conducted to identify farmers’ opinions on energy crop production and to characterize potential adopters of energy crop cultivation in Ireland. One hundred and seventy-two surveys were completed from 25 counties in Ireland. Miscanthus (48%) and grass (30%) were the preferred crops for adoption of energy crop production. Potential adopters described themselves as having a significantly greater level of knowledge of energy crop production compared with other respondents. The results indicate that lack of interest in adopting energy crop production may be due to lack of knowledge regarding the economic benefits of adoption and the variety of energy crops available for cultivation in Ireland. The establishment of long-term contracts and government schemes were identified as important requirements for the development of bioenergy crop production in Ireland. Energy crop adoption was not limited to farmers undertaking specific farm enterprises. Farmers were motivated to adopt energy crop production for both economic and environmental benefits. These results are the first to provide valuable information on the perspectives of potential adopters of bioenergy crop production in Ireland for the promotion and implementation of a national bioenergy industry. Policy requirements and outreach strategies to encourage adoption of energy crops by agricultural producers are suggested.