Understanding Factors Influencing Farmers' Engagement in Watershed Management Activities

Date
2021-07-01
Authors
Upadhaya, Suraj
Arbuckle, J. Gordon
Arbuckle, J. Gordon
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Sociology
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Natural Resource Ecology and ManagementSociology
Abstract

Studies have pointed to a positive relationship between farmers' active engagement in watershed management (WM) and soil and water conservation practice adoption. If farmers' involvement in WM leads to more conservation, what predicts WM participation? This study seeks to answer that question through binomial logistic regression analysis of data from a survey of 6,006 Iowa farmers conducted to support the implementation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS). Results indicate that public and private sector information sources, awareness of and attitudes regarding nutrient loss reduction strategies, farm contiguity to water bodies, and cost-share and technical assistance were positive predictors of farmers' engagement in WM, while lower agronomic self-efficacy, farm press as an information source, greater age, and higher farm sales were negative. Findings point to several potential actions to improve farmer involvement in WM: (1) more effectively engage with the farm press to disseminate information about the benefits of WM, (2) increase outreach to larger-scale farmers, and (3) focus on nutrient loss management capacity building. Further, a continued emphasis on awareness and attitudes related to the NRS and related actions, such as watershed management, may guide efforts to recruit farmers into watershed groups to help improve soil and water conservation outcomes.

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This article is published as Upadhaya S and Arbuckle JG (2021) Understanding Factors Influencing Farmers' Engagement in Watershed Management Activities. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 5:669571. doi:10.3389/fsufs.2021.669571.

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