Welcomer co-authors paper on farming in Maine

“Reliable Knowledge and Habits of the Mind: Factors Inhibiting and Facilitating Farmers’ Adaptation to Energy Constraints,” a paper co-authored by MBS Associate Dean Stephanie Welcomer, will be published in the Journal of Economic Issues later this year.

Welcomer wrote the paper with Breana Bennett ’12, a University of Maine Honors College graduate, Mark Haggerty, an economist and an Honors College preceptor for civic engagement, and John Jemison, water quality and soil specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

The paper is an analysis of factors limiting and facilitating energy adaptions among Maine farmers and is based on research gleaned from 15 focus groups of growers from several farming sectors throughout Maine.  The authors found that there were notable differences in adaptation strategies between small diversified and large commodity farms, and that
these differing strategies were associated with distinct customs and beliefs. They based their research on institutional economics theory.  “Institutional change is a pervasive process
in our society as we strive to adapt to macro changes in natural, societal and economic environments,” said Welcomer. “Understanding what helps and hinders actors in adapting is vital
in our economic and social processes.”