Is livestock producers’ interest in silvopasture related to their operational perspectives or characteristics?
Livestock producers’ operational perspectives and characteristics are known to be associated with silvopasture adoption, but findings in the literature are mixed and contradictory. To study whether characteristics or perspectives more closely relate to
silvopasture interest, 307 livestock producers enrolled in cost-share programs in Virginia, United States of America were surveyed. One hundred and thirty-nine producers responded (rate = 45%). Interest in silvopasture was measured using a Likert-type ordinal scale. Respondents reported the following operational characteristics: size in hectares, type and number of livestock, and primary or secondary occupation. Twelve Likert-type ordinal scales were used to measure the following operational perspectives, financial emphasis, cultural importance, and attitudes pertaining to operational diversification using trees. Multivariate cluster methods were used to group respondents into two classification sets one based on operational characteristics and the other operational perspectives. Tests for significant differences in silvopasture interest between classifications in each set were conducted using non-parametric Kruskal– Wallis rank sums (a = 0.05). Silvopasture interest differed significantly among classifications based on operational perspectives, but not operational characteristics.Cross-tabulations of the two sets and Cramer’s V test indicated that the two classification sets are unrelated. Findings suggest silvopasture interest cuts across operation type and is more closely tied to producers’ perspectives, particularly views related to diversification. Technical transfer programs and stakeholder engagement should focus on matching perspectives to practice regardless of operational scale and scope.