Factors influencing environmental stewardship in U.S. agriculture: Conservation program participants vs. non-participants

Glenn D. Schaible, Ashok K. Mishra, Dayton M. Lambert, George Panterov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation policy has increasingly shifted from a traditional land-retirement focus to greater emphasis on producer adoption of working-land conservation practices. This research made use of USDA integrated field/farm surveys, the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) and Agricultural Resources Management Survey (ARMS), to (1) enhance understanding of operator, field, farm, economic, and environmental characteristic differences between conservation program participants and non-participants across a farm typology, and (2) to enhance understanding of the relative importance of these factors on influencing farm stewardship intensity in corn and wheat production, i.e., how these factors influence differences in producer adoption of alternative levels of land and pest-management practices between conservation program participants and non-participants. The research used a cost-function acreage-based technology adoption model to examine farm stewardship differences. Results indicate that program non-participants invest more heavily in land conserving and pest-management practices than program participants. Relative prices, structural, and socio-environmental factors play significantly different roles across crops, and between conservation program participants and non-participants, in their influence on producer adoption decisions for land and pest-management intensity. The environmental effectiveness and cost efficiency of conservation programs will likely improve when their implementation more explicitly recognizes farm heterogeneity as well as differences in farmer motivations for stewardship investments. Recognizing these differences can help improve targeting of conservation incentive structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalLand Use Policy
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Conservation policy
  • Conservation practices
  • Conservation programs
  • Cost-function models
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Technology adoption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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