Source: KANSAS STATE UNIV submitted to
BARRIERS TO CONSERVATION ON AGRICULTURAL LANDS AND STRATEGIES TO REDUCE THEM
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0193404
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
KS618
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2002
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2005
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Cable, T.
Recipient Organization
KANSAS STATE UNIV
(N/A)
MANHATTAN,KS 66506
Performing Department
HORTICULTURE & FORESTRY
Non Technical Summary
Over 94% of the land in Kansas is agricultural land. Riparian forests which support much of Kansas's wildlife and contribute to maintaining water quality in Kansas are almost exclusively on private lands. This research will describe the ability and willingness of landowners to conserve natural resources on their lands. It also will address the development of communication strategies and programs to encourage stewardship of those resources to benefit all Kansans.
Animal Health Component
50%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
50%
Applied
50%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1230899106050%
1350850106050%
Goals / Objectives
The objective of this research is to answer the question as to why some farmers and ranchers adopt conservation practices, whereas others do not. Identification of barriers to conservation actions will provide targets to affect an increase in conservation on agricultural lands. It will also address communication issues related to participation in conservation programs, such as identifying the producers' sources of information about conservation programs and practices, how they evaluate the credibility of information sources, and persuasiveness of these communications. Communication strategies and interventions will be developed to encourage adoption of conservation practices and participation in conservation programs.
Project Methods
Information will be gathered about agricultural producers' knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, social norms, and information sources related to natural resource conservation. Perceived barriers to adoption of conservation practices and participation in state and federal conservation programs will be identified. Strategies for enhancing persuasive communications and incentives to conserve natural resources will be designed. The USDA Forest Service Environmental Intervention Handbook for Resource Managers will help guide the identification of barriers and the development of interventions to modify behavior. Quantitative survey methodology will be supplemented with qualitative focus groups to provide rich data that may not be possible from quantitative methods alone. Focus groups consisting of those who actively participate in conservation programs and those who do not will be conducted to allow for comparisons and breadth of data. The question route will be field tested prior to conducting the focus groups. The verbal protocols will be audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. The coding scheme of the analysis will be based on concepts generated from existing literature and themes that emerge from the focus groups. Based on the focus group findings, a mail-out survey instrument will be developed, tested, and sent to a randomly-selected statewide sample of all agricultural producers. This survey will quantitatively explore issues raised in the focus groups. For example, based upon discussions with Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, we anticipate concerns about public access for hunting on private-lands, willingness to accept monetary and nonmonetary compensation for soil conservation practices, and crop depredation by white-tail deer and wild turkey. Myths may surface such as the widespread controversial belief that wild turkeys are harming bobwhite quail populations in agricultural landscapes. The survey instrument will gather data about attitudes and behaviors related to these salient issues as well as about information sources and the information gathering processes. The questionnaire will be constructed and administered using Dillman's Tailored Design Method. This approach specifies survey design characteristics to maximize response rate and insure quality data. It also requires a series of repeat mailings to nonrespondents, sending reminder postcards, and checking for nonresponse bias. The number of focus groups and the sample size of the mail survey will be influenced by available funding, but statisticians will be consulted to ensure that the scope of the sampling is sufficient to produce meaningful results. The data collected will be interpreted in light of behavior theories and models of knowledge- attitude-behavior relationships. Environmental communication and behavior modification strategies will be developed based on theories of persuasive communications.

Progress 09/01/02 to 06/30/05

Outputs
This year we completed the surveys of high school students and teachers who participated in the River Friendly Farm program. The program is an educational citizen science water quality education program. Data regarding student knowledge, attitudes, abilities and perceived norms about water quality were collected and are still being assessed. The River Friendly Farm program was assessed is believed to be effective in increasing student knowledge about water quality issues. Teachers involved in the program strongly endorsed it. We also conducted focus groups in six Kansas watersheds to gather data from community leaders regarding water quality issues and barriers to adoption of soil conservation practices on Kansas agricultural lands. Approaches to overcome those barriers were also addressed by the focus groups.

Impacts
We have a better understanding of the water quality related knowledge and attitudes of both high school students and adult community leaders in Kansas. We now know the water quality issues that community leaders deem important, their perceived barriers to adoption of conservation practices in Kansas, and their recommendations for overcoming the barriers to adoption of conservation practices by landowners.

Publications

  • Hill, S., T. Cable, L. Wilson, and L. French. 2005. Using monitoring and assessment for successful community-based collaboratives. Community-based Collaboratives Research Consortium Fifth National Conference, Sedona, AZ (paper also appears on web at: www.cbcrc.org)
  • Hill, S., T. Clarke, T., Cable, K.. Boone, and P. Melgares. 2005. Overcoming barriers to adoption of water-quality BMPs in Kansas: An initial assessment. Paper presented to the Association for Communication Excellence in Agricultural, Natural Resources and the Life and Human Sciences. San Antonio, TX.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
During the past year a survey was conducted of five high school classes who had been involved in a citizen science stream water quality program called River Friendly Farms. Student knowledge and attitudes about water quality in rural areas of Kasnas were assessed. Data describing perceived barriers to water quality conservation was collected by this survey instrument. The data was entered and coded and descriptive summary statistics have been produced. Additional analyses are underway. Teacher's who participated in this water quality program were also studied. The results of that survey show a strong endorsement of the River Friendly Farm program by the teachers who used it.

Impacts
We will have a better understanding of current knowledge and attitudes of rural Kansas high school students regarding their knowledge and attitudes about water quality on farms. We also will have evaluated the effectiveness of one water quality education program.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
During the first year of this project, we identified a specific conservation program to assess both for effectiveness and for studying barriers to conservation behaviors. Specifically we chose study the River Friendly Farm program in Kansas. We developed and began pre-testing a survey instrument designed to assess barriers to landowner participation in this voluntary conservation program on their agricultural lands. We also expanded the research to include barriers to environmentally responsible behavior in high school students. High school vo-ag classes in which teachers were willing to participate in our study were identified and a survey is being pre-tested with this group of subjects as well. Data collection will begin this winter. No graduate students are associated with this research.

Impacts
This research will help us understand why some people do not participate in conservation-related programs and practices on their farms. Upon identifying the barriers to these behaviors theoretically sound interventions can be recommended to eliminate the barriers and increase participation in conservation programs.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
I met with various groups interested in conservation and agricultural lands to explore specific issues and programs that might be addressed by this research project. With the help of Dr. Rhonda Janke, I discussed approaches and sought supplemental extramural funding with organizations such as the Kansas Rural Center and Kansas Department of Health and Environment. I reviewed evaluation data collected by Dr. Rhonda Janke regarding landowner participation in the River Friendly Farm (RFF) Program and landowner evaluations of that program. These discussions and activities led to the decision to link this project to an ongoing conservation research project involving water quality and farming practices. Specifically, we decided that my project will assess barriers to participation in a KDHE and EPA funded voluntary water quality testing program. This project expands the RFF program and will involve both agricultural landowners and FFA students. Logistics planning for data gathering with focus groups and development of a survey instrument was begun.

Impacts
This project has the potential to impact the Kansas environment in dramatic ways. Much of Kansas?s biodiversity can be found in aquatic ecosystems, wetlands, and in riparian forests. The vast majority of these lands are privately owned by agricultural producers. Previous studies have shown that conversion to cropland and livestock grazing and watering often have a detrimental effect on these particularly rich biological communities. This research may result in private landowners protecting these resources from degradation by participating in conservation programs. If so, the effect on the environment of Kansas would be significant from a biodiversity standpoint. Clean water and healthy vibrant plant and animal communities benefit all of society both today and in the future. This project, if it contributes to cleaner streams, greater biodiversity, and more recreational opportunities, while maintaining efficient agricultural production, it will result in many social benefits to Kansans

Publications

  • No publications reported this period