Agricultural Producer Perspectives on the Adoption of Conservation Practices, Water Quality, and Climate Change in Big Creek and Lime Creek Watersheds

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By Ajay Singh1, Linda Stalker Prokopy2

1. California State University, Sacramento 2. Purdue University

Summary report and interview transcripts of ag producer perspectives on conservation practices, water quality and climate change in Indiana and Iowa.

Version 1.0 - published on 19 Apr 2018 doi:10.4231/R70P0X89 - cite this Archived on 19 Apr 2018

Licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal



The Mississippi River Basin (MRB) contains prime farmland that has produced high-value, nutrient intensive crops for food, fiber, and fuel. Prairie, forest and river ecosystems that support diverse plant and animal communities are also found within the MRB. Because of an increase and intensification of agricultural production in the MRB since European settlement, plant and animal habitats have degraded. 

To address water quality and wildlife issues in the MRB, a partnership between researchers at the US Geologic Service, Oregon State University, and Purdue University created a project to investigate the barriers and opportunities of adoption of conservation practices by agricultural producers in three sub-watersheds in the MRB. This investigation also gauged rates of adoption of different conservation practices which increase water quality or habitat that qualify for federal cost-share programs. Understanding what factors influence farmers’ management decisions can help researchers understand why practices are adopted or have a high likelihood of adoption now or in the future. Understanding decision making as it relates to adoption can inform water quality and habitat models that predict what may happen to hypoxic areas in the Gulf of Mexico in the future if there are precipitation and temperature changes in the MRB. 

The following data are the results of interviews with 36 agricultural producers in Big Creek watershed located in Posey County in southwestern Indiana and Lime Creek watershed located in Buchanan and Benton Counties in northeastern Iowa. Interviewees were asked to discuss their current use of conservation practices and their willingness to change their use of conservation practices in the future due to projected climate changes in the Upper Midwest.

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