Personality traits of German livestock farmers: Are there differences according to the production system?

Iris Schröter, Marcus Mergenthaler


Decisions made by farmers can have large influences beyond the farm boundary because farmers are the first
link in the food supply chain. For this reason, understanding their decision-making behaviour may be of interest
to all stakeholders of food systems. Since there is considerable evidence that personality traits may affect
decision-making behaviour, this paper investigates personality traits according to the HEXACO model of
personality in a sample of 244 German livestock farmers. Our results indicate that livestock farmers differ in
their personality from the general population, with farmers scoring higher on honesty-humility,
conscientiousness and being more emotionally stable. Comparisons within the farmer sample show that
organic livestock farmers score higher on Openness than conventional farmers. However, the results of a
confirmatory factor analysis suggest that the German version of the short item scale used to measure the
personality traits of the sample should be partially modified. Even though our results should therefore be
understood rather as first indications and a basis for further research, they could help to better align support
strategies, e.g. for more animal-friendly production, with the personality traits of farmers.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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