--- - |2 Abstract Meeting targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture will require the implementation of effective mitigation measures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently recognised that to succeed we need to understand more about the conditions within which mitigation measures are applied, and for this, they note, we need insights from social science disciplines including sociology. We addressed this knowledge gap by using the concept of path‐dependency and lock‐in to explore barriers to change in dairy/beef systems in Norway. A qualitative survey of 29 farms found that changing parenting, recreational and spousal role expectations are driving farmers towards intensification (and thus higher emissions) in order to purchase milking robots, which, in turn, provide increased time for the expected role changes. Structural change is thus predominantly directed towards farm continuity which is making it increasingly difficult to meet mitigation targets in the future. The study illustrates how mitigation measures might be made more effective by understanding and addressing the broader cultural/structural environment within which farmers and their families operate. - 'Sociologia Ruralis, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-. '