Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Large-scale assessment of German dairy farmers' personality and resulting ideas for improving veterinary consultancy

The here presented investigation was part of a cross-sectional study on dairy cattle health aiming to identify risk factors for animal health and welfare. Within this setting, we chose a social-science related approach to explore German dairy farmers' personality composition in a variable-centered and person-centered approach. We have assessed German dairy farmers' personalities based on the HEXACO model of personality in three representative regional samples. In total, 765 farm visits were conducted within two and half years (north n = 253; east n = 252; south n = 260). The proportions of returned questionnaires eligible for analysis (i.e., answered completely) were 71.54% (n = 181), 68.25% (n = 172) and 86.92% (n = 226) for the northern, eastern and southern samples, respectively. Variable-centered personality analyses revealed the farmers' structure of personality to be similar within all samples. Overall, we found the farmers to be averagely emotional and agreeable, whereas the results indicate tendencies for a pronounced display of extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to experience. Compared to the German general population, dairy farmers appear to be more extraverted and open to experience. We could not deduce a subcategorization of farmers in different latent personality profiles in person-centered analysis. Our findings provide a basis for further evaluation of the farmers´ personality as an influencing factor for farm outcomes (e.g., productivity, animal health and welfare). Furthermore, we provide a glance and encourage interdisciplinary research to link personality information with communication theory aiming to enhance effectiveness of veterinary consultancy.


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