Date of this Version
2014 The Authors
This paper examines the role of crop advisors as brokers of climate information to support US corn farmers to adapt to climatic change. It uses quantitative data collected from a broad survey of crop advisors in the US Corn Belt to examine the factors that shape advisors’ use of (and willingness to provide) climate information to their clients. Building upon a general model of climate information usability we argue that advisors’ willingness to provide climate advice to farmers is influenced by three main factors: their information seeking habits and behavior, their experience with innovation in the past, and how climate information interplays with other kinds of information that they provide—especially agronomic advice. We find that advisors’ willingness to provide climate related information depends both on factors at the individual and organizational level and on the type of advice they provide. First, at the individual and organizational levels, advisors who work in supportive organizations and who collaborate with other advisors are more likely to provide climate information. Second, advisors are more likely to provide climate information if it does not interfere with their main profit making business (e.g. provision of agronomic advice). Third, there is a significant positive relationship between trust in a greater number or sources of information and use of climate information. Fourth, the way advisors perceive short- and long-term risk also influences their willingness to provide climate information; the more concerned they are about long-term climate-related risks to farming, the more likely they are to provide (or want to provide) advice based on climate information. Differently from other empirical work in the literature, our analytical model suggests that neither negative experiences with climate information in the past nor the high level of uncertainty characteristic of climate information appear to influence advisors willingness to provide climate information in the future.