Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Framing of sustainable agricultural practices by the farming press and its effect on adoption

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Niki RustORCiD, Dr Julia Cooper



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s). There is growing political pressure for farmers to use more sustainable agricultural practices to protect people and the planet. The farming press could encourage farmers to adopt sustainable practices through its ability to manipulate discourse and spread awareness by changing the salience of issues or framing topics in specific ways. We sought to understand how the UK farming press framed sustainable agricultural practices and how the salience of these practices changed over time. We combined a media content analysis of the farming press alongside 60 qualitative interviews with farmers and agricultural advisors to understand whether the farming press influenced farmers to try more sustainable practices. Salience of sustainable agricultural practices grew between 2009 and 2020. Many of the practices studied were framed by the press around economic and agronomic aspects, and farmer respondents said the most common reasons for trying sustainable agricultural practices were for economic and agronomic reasons. The farming press tended to use more positive rather than negative tones when covering sustainable agricultural practices. Respondents used the farming press as a source of information, though many did not fully trust these outlets as they believed the farming press were mouthpieces for agribusinesses. Whilst a minority of farmers stated they were motivated to try a new sustainable agricultural practice after learning about it in the farming press, this was rare. Instead, the farming press was used by respondents to raise their awareness about wider agricultural topics. We reflect on the role and power given to agribusinesses by the farming press and what this means for agricultural sustainability.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rust NA, Jarvis RM, Reed MS, Cooper J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Agriculture and Human Values

Year: 2021

Volume: 40

Pages: 753-765

Print publication date: 01/09/2021

Online publication date: 21/02/2021

Acceptance date: 02/12/2020

Date deposited: 01/10/2021

ISSN (print): 0889-048X

ISSN (electronic): 1572-8366

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s10460-020-10186-7


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric