The Water Framework Directive (WFD) calls for improvement in water bodies across Europe by 2015 (European Parliament, 2000). The Directive measures in terms of ‘ecological quality’, requiring reductions in non-point source pollutants, which are primarily produced through agricultural activities (Bateman et al, 2006). Policies such as reductions in nitrogen application and in stocking rates will be necessary to meet WDF requirement. Bateman et al. (2006) have designed and built a GIS model in an attempt to better understand how farmers will respond to potential policy interventions. The model takes into account the differing characteristics of farming districts such as style and intensity of farming, soil type and structure, topography and rainfall, and the economics of farming. The model outputs include projections about farmer responses to different policy interventions. This project is designed to 'ground truth' the projections produced by the model. Set at the community level, and relying on farmer interviews and surveying, the ground truthing will be based on the Australiasian developed and tested I3 Response Framework (Murdoch et al., 2006). In accordance with the I3 Response Framework methodology, qualitative information on farmer preferences will be gathered through individual interviews and analysed in relation to the framework quadrants. Utilising the information from interviews, a survey tool will be constructed to test farmer responses to policy interventions under the WDF. A stratified sampling technique will ensure representation across the range of farming businesses. The quantitative and qualitative responses derived from the survey will provide an in-depth understanding of farmer actions across the range of farm businesses, and provide data for comparison with the model results.
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