The Factors Affecting Farmers’ Soybean Planting Behavior in Heilongjiang Province, China

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 Shiwei Liu 1,2 , Pingyu Zhang 2, Ben Marley 3 and Wenxin Liu 2,*

  • Correspondence: [email protected]; Tel.: +86-431-8554-2228 Received: 1 August 2019; Accepted: 28 August 2019; Published: 1 September 2019
  • School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China Department of Sociology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1111, USA


Under the threat of food insecurity, the Chinese government has created plans and policies to stimulate soybean production. Despite government efforts to stimulate production, based on predictions, planned targets for soybean production are unlikely. Consequently, the predictions raise questions about farmers’ intentions to increase soybean cultivating area. In other words, farmers may not be willing to increase soybean. However, few researchers have studied soybean farmers’ intention and behavior. With these concerns in mind, this study analyzed the intention and factors that influence farmers’ choice of increasing soybean production as well as evaluating the differences in the decision making between commercial and subsistence farmers. This study collected data from 155 randomly selected families in 23 villages in the major soybean area in Heilongjiang Province. Results showed that 42.6% of the farmers expressed that they would expand soybean planting area, while the rest would insist on previous planting habits. The capacity to increase soybean production confronted many constraints. Farmers’ age, farm income, land topography, and ease of selling all positively influence farmers’ behavior. A significant difference in decision making between subsistence and commercial farmers was found. Subsistence farmers were more affected by land topography, agricultural insurance status, and satisfaction of soybean subsidies, whereas commercial farmers were more affected by farming experience and farm income. As a result, soybean policies should focus on increasing farmers’ income, promoting large-scale planting, training young farmers, innovation of agricultural insurance, and strengthening construction of agricultural infrastructure.

Keywords: soybean; farmer’s behavior; soybean planting; affecting factors; Heilongjiang province
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