Skip to Main Content
Adoption of agricultural conservation practices in the United States: Evidence from 35 years of quantitative literatureAuthor(s): L.S. Prokopy; K. Floress; J.G. Arbuckle; S.P. Church; F.R. Eanes; Y. Gao; B.M. Gramig; P. Ranjan; A.S. Singh
Source: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (303.0 KB)
DescriptionThis is a comprehensive review of all published, quantitative studies focused on adoption of agricultural conservation practices in the United States between 1982 and 2017. This review finds that, taken as a whole, few independent variables have a consistent statistically significant relationship with adoption. Analyses showed that variables positively associated with adoption include the farmer self-identifying primarily as stewardship motivated or otherwise nonfinancially motivated, environmental attitudes, a positive attitude toward the particular program or practice, previous adoption of other conservation practices, seeking and using information, awareness of programs or practices, vulnerable land, greater farm size, higher levels of income and formal education, engaging in marketing arrangements, and positive yield impact expected. Some variables often thought to be important, such as land tenure, did not emerge as consistently important in this cross-study review. Other variables, such as farmers' sense of place, training, presence of institutional conditions supporting adoption, and the role of collective decision making are not measured in enough studies to draw conclusions but potentially have a relationship with adoption decisions. Implications for how to promote conservation adoption and directions for future research are discussed. Because positive attitudes and awareness of conservation programs or practices are positive predictors of adoption, practitioners should share benefits of specific practices and programs and leverage existing practice adoption. Further work to explore relationships between conservation adoption and the role of farmer identity, nuances of land tenure, and the influence of structural factors is needed. Moreover, we suggest that future research should focus on the impact of different messages and avenues of reaching farmers in order to continue to inform conservation practices. Future research should consider both individual and institutional factors that facilitate and constrain adoption.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationProkopy, L.S.; Floress, K.; Arbuckle, J.G.; Church, S.P.; Eanes, F.R.; Gao, Y.; Gramig, B.M.; Ranjan, P.; Singh, A.S. 2019. Adoption of agricultural conservation practices in the United States: Evidence from 35 years of quantitative literature. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 74(5): 520-534. https://doi.org/10.2489/jswc.74.5.520.
Keywordsagricultural Best Management Practice (BMP, conservation programs, outreach, program design, social indicators, vote count
- Synthesizing Conservation Motivations and Barriers: What Have We Learned from Qualitative Studies of Farmers' Behaviors in the United States?
- Toward a theory of farmer conservation attitudes: Dual interests and willingness to take action to protect water quality
- Adoption of Agroforestry Innovations in the Tropics: A Review
XML: View XML