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Adoption of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the New York City watershed: the role of farmer attitudes

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Despite widespread adoption of conservation practices by farmers in the Cannonsville watershed, part of the New York City water supply system, there is considerable resistance to riparian buffer practices of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Traditional approaches to promoting CREP adoption, based on the adoption-diffusion model, were not effective in promoting CREP. We surveyed farmers in the Cannonsville watershed to evaluate factors affecting CREP adoption. Many variables commonly tied to practice adoption, including farm structure and farmer sociodemographic traits, were poorly correlated with the attitudes of Cannonsville farmers toward CREP. Attitudes toward land costs and farmer resentment toward New York City's control of land and conservation policy were, however, strong predictors of CREP adoption. This suggests that as regional watershed collaborations become more active in managing private landowner conservation behaviors, resentment factors may inhibit adoption of the encouraged practices. Findings provide insight into mechanisms to improve upstream-downstream partnerships and the potential to balance clean water resources with local agricultural production priorities.
Armstrong, A. , Ling, E.J. , Stedman, R. , Kleinman, P.
Includes references
Journal of soil and water conservation 2011 Sept-Oct, v. 66, no. 5
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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