Perception and Classification of Stress Factors of Young Farmers

Mira Knoop, Ludwig Theuvsen

Published: 01.12.2020  〉 Volume 69 (2020), Number 4, 311-324  〉 Resort: Articles 
Submitted: 26.11.2019   〉 Feedback to authors after first review: 24.01.2020   〉 Accepted: 23.03.2020


A person of working age spends most of their time at work. A farmer’s workplace is characterized by work in an office, field, or stable, and influenced by a multitude of factors. The working conditions and workloads between individual farms can differ considerably, partly due to differing sizes or respective production specialization. What the exact stress factors inGerman agriculture are, how they are perceived by farmers and whether there are differences in perceptions between farmers, is currently an open research question. This is where the present empirical study comes in, in which 290 leaders of agricultural and horticultural enterprises participated. The findings are limited by the fact that the test persons are significantly younger and the farm structures are significantly larger compared to the German average of farmers. Furthermore, the majority of the respondents come from Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Nevertheless, by forming four factors within the framework of a factor analysis, stressful focal points in agriculture are shown. Furthermore, three clusters can be identified which are characterized both by differences in the perception of stress and sociodemographic characteristics. Younger farmers, in this survey, feel particularly negatively influenced by the social environment (family, neighbors), while high work intensity is a core element among older farmers of this survey. One cluster shows that farmers who perceive stress in a weaker form also feel healthier. These results on the perceptions of burdens in agricultural work show agricultural counsellors and policy makers which measures could relieve pressures and improve farmer health, as well as increasing the attractiveness of activities in agriculture, at least for younger farmers and farmers with larger farms.

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Department für Agrarökonomie und Rurale Entwicklung,
Arbeitsbereich Betriebswirtschaftslehre des Agrarbusiness
Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, 37073 Göttingen
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