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M.S. Thesis Defense - Corrin Winter

Understanding the Factors Affecting Nebraskan Farmers’ and Landowners’ Decision to Adopt Precision Agricultural Technologies and Programs

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Hardin Hall Room: 901 South
3310 Holdrege St
Lincoln NE 68583
Additional Info: HARH
Virtual Location: Zoom
Target Audiences:
Andy Little,
Agriculture intensification has increased during the past 50+ years resulting in simplified cropping systems (e.g., monocultures of high-yielding crops such as corn and soybeans). Additionally, agricultural intensification has led to the removal of non-crop habitat to maximize field size for production. Concomitantly, agricultural intensification coupled with increased chemical and mechanical inputs has led to adverse environmental impacts on soils, water, and biodiversity. To address these issues, new precision agriculture technologies and conservation planning frameworks have been developed with the goal of optimizing agricultural production systems while reducing negative environmental impacts soils, water, and biodiversity. Despite these opportunities to optimize agricultural production and environmental sustainability, farmers still face many constraints and limitations when choosing to adopt these precision technologies.
To identify the factors that facilitate or constrain farmers and farmland owners’ willingness to participate in targeted conservation delivery (via precis ion agriculture), we surveyed 7,503 individuals across Nebraska. These individuals were selected based on two criteria: 1) they were farmers and/or farmland owners who own or work land in Nebraska; and 2) were over the age of 19. We received 1,040 completed surveys (response rate = 13.9%). Our preliminary results indicate that upfront costs, upkeep costs of equipment, and the right to repair were the most common constraints identified by farmers and farmland owners’ willingness to adopt targeted conservation approaches using new precision agriculture technologies. We also found that inheritance and being a renter had a significant impact on their perceived limitations. Finally, we examined how farmers and farmland owners preferred to receive information about conservation programs across Nebraska. Survey participants preferred receiving information from: 1) farm equipment manufacturers; 2) farm-oriented news networks; and 3) farm service agencies. Non-government organizations (e.g., Pheasants Forever), university extension, Nebraska Natural Resources Districts, and the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service were preferred more by applicants who had applied for conservation program compared to those who had never applied for a conservation program. We also examined the perceived sufficiency of the expert advice the respondents received when applying to a conservation program. The study found that the more agencies or
organizations the producer worked with, the more likely they were to find the information they received sufficient. Knowledge gained from this study will also help conservation agencies/organizations improve their outreach and engagement methods with Nebraskan farmers and farmland owners with the goal of optimizing agricultural production and environmental sustainability for future generations.

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This event originated in SNR Seminars & Discussions.