Farmer to Non-Farmer: The Role of Farmer Identity on Conservation

PI: Eric Toman (Ohio State University)
CO-PI: J. Arbuckle (Iowa State University)
Awarded: $20,309

Project Abstract

The need exists to better understand the full population of landowners, and the factors that influence their behaviors, to balance agriculture production and maintenance of ecosystem quality and services. To date, limited research has examined how a farmer occupational identity influences land management decisions in the U.S. Occupational identity has the potential to provide a filter to help determine the factors that influence best management practice (BMP) adoption among different segments of the rural population. Utilizing postal surveys to rural landowners, we expect findings from the proposed research to help inform how to tailor programs that seek to advance adoption of BMPs. In addition, findings will advance theoretical understanding by providing further testing of a measure of occupational identity among rural landowners and its first quantitative assessment among U.S. landowners. As calls for increased efficiency and effectiveness from federal and state agencies to address environmental concerns escalates, there is a critical need for a closer examination of the relationship between non-operator landowners, with varying farmer occupational identities, and the tenant farmers in relation to barriers and incentives that exist to adopt BMPs.