Identifier

etd-10262006-155514

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Considerable research has been conducted to evaluate the adoption of agricultural best management practices and their overall impact on improving environmental quality. However, limited studies have been conducted to evaluate the behavioral factors that influence the adoption of these practices in the context of educational programs The goal of this study is to determine the factors that influence farmer conservation behavior that might lead to an increased probability of improving agriculture and forestry watersheds. A conceptual model was developed to identify the: 1) identify landowner participation in watershed conservation projects, and 2) determine the factors influencing agriculture and forestry landowners to participate in watershed conservation projects. The model includes four major sets of explanatory variables including: 1) social-psychological, 2) farm structural, 3) ecological, and 4) institutional. This study indicates that both farmers and loggers that are younger, more educated and of Caucasian ethnicity tend to participate in environmental stewardship programs which lead to the implementation of conservation practices. Farmers with strong local organization relationships have a greater tendency to participate in environmental stewardship programs which leads to the adoption of conservation practices. Agricultural producers with higher income resulting from farming, higher total acres, and farms legal structure indicated as incorporated tended to participate in environmental stewardship programs. Loggers that produced larger loads per week, which is an indicator of size, tended to participate in environmental stewardship programs. The study also found that agricultural producers who spend more time in a job off-farm and have a family owned operation have a lower tendency to participate in environmental stewardship programs. The study indicates that farmers that have modified their operation due to the Clean Water Act as well as awareness of efforts to control non-point source pollution through the Clean Water Act have a lower tendency to participate in environmental stewardship programs, thus viewed upon as institutional barriers. Also found was loggers with negative relationships toward regulatory agencies and lending institutions have a lower tendency to participate in environmental stewardship programs. Farmers have mixed attitudes toward government involvement in agriculture. These conclusions are supported by earlier studies.

Date

2006

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Richard Vlosky

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