Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agricultural and Resource Economics

Major Professor

Christopher N. Boyer

Committee Members

Christopher D. Clark, Dayton M. Lambert, S. Aaron Smith

Abstract

This thesis presents two separate studies focusing on best management practice (BMP) adoption by row crop producers in Middle and West Tennessee. The objective of the first study is to summarize results the survey. Survey topics included producer perceptions regarding the benefits and costs from using no-tillage planting (no-till), cover crops, and irrigation water management (IWM); respondent responsiveness to BMP cost-share payments; and producer demographic information such as household income and age. The majority of survey respondents (87%) were already planting using no-till, but only 28% knew they could receive a cost-share payment for adopting no-till. Adoption of cover crops was about 29%, and no respondent indicated they have adopted IWM.Roughly half of producers were aware of United States Department of Agriculture cost-share programs for cover crop adoption, and no producers knew cost-share payments for adopting IWM are available. Producers were responsive to increases in cost-share payments encouraging cover crop adoption; however, producer adoption of no-till and IWM was not responsive to increases in cost-share payments. Data gathered from this survey indicates Tennessee producers’ adoption and barriers to adoption of these BMPs, which could assist in designing effective conservation policies.The objective of the second study is to determine the effect of producer risk preference and other factors such as cost-share payments on willingness to adopt cover crops and no-till using a risk preference elicitation method. The same survey data was used. The results show that producers are responsive to cost-share payments for cover crop adoption, but the likelihood a producer would adopt no-till did not increase with higher cost-share payments. More risk averse producers were less likely to adopt cover crops and no-till, as were those who did not believe the survey would influence future farm programs. Younger, college educated producers were more risk tolerant than older producers without a 4-year degree. The results provide a better understanding of producer risk preferences and will guide future studies in measuring and assessing risk preferences of agricultural producers.

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