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This paper considers how farmers perceive and respond to climate change policy risks, and suggests that understanding these risk responses is as important as understanding responses to biophysical climate change impacts. Based on a survey of 162 farmers in California, we test three hypotheses regarding climate policy risk: (1) that perceived climate change risks will have a direct impact on farmer's responses to climate policy risks, (2) that previous climate change experiences will influence farmer's climate change perceptions and climate policy risk responses, and (3) that past experiences with environmental policies will more strongly affect a farmer's climate change beliefs, risks, and climate policy risk responses. Using a structural equation model we find support for all three hypotheses and furthermore show that farmers’ negative past policy experiences do not make them less likely to respond to climate policy risks through participation in a government incentive program. We discuss how future research and climate policies can be structured to garner greater agricultural participation. This work highlights that understanding climate policy risk responses and other social, economic and policy perspectives is a vital component of understanding climate change beliefs, risks and behaviors and should be more thoroughly considered in future work.



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