Agri-Environment Schemes (AESs) are seen as important instruments in the delivery of sustainable countryside management. Central to the success of AESs are farmer participation and engagement. Social scientists, and geographers in particular, have now paid significant attention to these themes and this paper seeks to survey some key developments within this work. The paper begins by reflecting on the key themes emerging from AES ‘adoption’ research, and then discusses a recent strand of AES research which has paid specific attention to the ways that farmers socially construct their environments and identities. The paper then considers whether, after several decades in place, there is evidence from the extant literature that AESs are serving to change famer attitudes and farming cultures. Finally, the article concludes by sketching out potentially fruitful avenues for future farmer–AES research.