Perceptions of Iowa farm operators and soil conservation district commissioners regarding selected soil and water conservation practices
The primary purpose of this study was to identify and analyze the perceptions of soil conservation district commissioners and other farmers in Iowa regarding the use of selected soil and water conservation practices. A secondary purpose was to identify the implications of these perceptions to educational practice;The population of the study included all of the district commissioners (500) in the state, as well as all of the farm operators in the state (109,367) as determined by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. One-half of the commissioners and four hundred eighty-one non-commissioners or farm operators were selected as the sample. A six-section survey instrument was developed through the use of an advisory committee. The survey instrument was found to have a reliability coefficient of.84. Descriptive and inferential statistical procedures were used to analyze the data;The major findings of the study were: (1) there was a lack of education regarding soil and water conservation practices; (2) conservation education programs are best when administered at the local level through on-farm demonstrations and group meetings; (3) farmers in Iowa are not using ridge-till and no-till planting practices at the same rate as farmers in other regions of the United States; (4) approximately the same level of chemical usage occurs in conservation tillage as conventional tillage systems; (5) the results of this study indicated a lack of understanding and considerable amount of confusion regarding the definition of conservation tillage; (6) farmers rated soil and chemical use as a serious problem statewide but indicated less concern locally; (7) the Soil Conservation Service and County Extension Service provided farmers practical conservation education.