Farmers’ willingness to adopt conservation practices is influenced by their perceptions of the practices. Differences in perceptions point toward potential educational and outreach strategies that may be employed to promote adoption. The purpose of this study was to assess perception gaps between adopters and non-adopters for continuous no-tillage, conservation crop rotations, cover crops, and variable-rate application of inputs. Using primary survey data from Kansas agricultural producers, we evaluated differences in perceptions regarding economic, agronomic, environmental, and management outcomes through descriptive statistic and mean separation tests. Practice adoption ranged from 29% for variable-rate application of inputs to 69% for conservation crop rotations. On average, adopters perceived increases in crop yields and net returns for each practice compared to non-adopters. Perceptions about other factors varied by practice, but perceived benefits tended to be higher for adopters. Similarly, perceived disadvantages from adoption (e.g., higher cost, increased management needs) tended to be lower among adopters. Overall, both adopters and non-adopters perceived environmental benefits from adopting conservation practices. Our findings point toward potential outreach strategies to promote conservation adoption, such as extension and outreach that share more relevant and localized economic information and build upon joint perceptions of environmental benefits of practices.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research and work was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Food and Agriculture, under Grant KS601924; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Food and Agriculture, Hatch Multistate Project W4133 (Project # KS 21-0025-W4133); and the National Science Foundation, Human Environment and Geographical Sciences, NSF Proposal #2117533.
© 2022 by the authors.
- conservation crop rotation
- cover crops
- variable-rate application