USE OF SOIL AND WATER PROTECTION PRACTICES AMONG FARMERS IN THE NORTH CENTRAL REGION OF THE UNITED STATES1

Authors

  • Ted L. Napier

    1. Department of Human and Community Resource Development; and the School of Natural Resources of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center of The Ohio State University 2120 Fyffe Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210 (E-Mail: napier.2@osu.edu).
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  • 1

    Paper No. 99086 of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.Discussions are open until April 1, 2001.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Data were collected in the fall of 1998 and the winter of 1999 from 1,011 land owner-operators within three watersheds in the North Central Region of the United States to assess adoption of soil and water protection practices. Farm owner-operators were asked to indicate how frequently they used 18 different agricultural production practices. Many farmers within the three watersheds had adopted conservation protection practices. However, they also employed production practices that could negate many of the environmental benefits associated with conservation practices in use. Comparison of adoption behaviors used in the three watersheds revealed significant differences among the study groups. Respondents in the Iowa and Ohio watersheds reported greater use of conservation production systems than did farmers in Minnesota. However, there were no significant differences between Ohio and Iowa farmers in terms of use of conservation production practices. This was surprising, since farmers in the Ohio watershed had received massive amounts of public and private investments to motivate them to adopt and to continue using conservation production systems. These findings bring into serious question the use of traditional voluntary conservation programs such as those employed in the Ohio watershed. Study findings suggest that new policy approaches should be considered. It is argued that “whole farm planning” should be a significant component of new agricultural conservation policy.

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