J. Arbuckle, professor of sociology, is co-author of a study titled, “Adoption of Agricultural Conservation Practices in the United States: Evidence from 35 Years of Quantitative Literature,” published in the September/October 2019 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.
This study is a comprehensive review of all published, quantitative studies on the adoption of agricultural conservation practices in the U.S. between 1982 and 2017. The co-authors discovered that, as a whole, few variables consistently account for farmers’ adoption of conservation practices. Some consistent factors that translated into greater use of conservation practices included stronger stewardship ethics, awareness of and positive attitudes toward conservation practices and programs, and engagement in conservation-related social networks, to name just a few.
The authors determined that future research should focus on the best ways to communicate to farmers about conservation practices and the influence of institutional factors, such as market structure and subsidies on conservation behaviors.