U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Science Advisory Board
Background Information

Document NameAdoption of nutrient management techniques to reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico,
Document AuthorRobinson, J. R.
Napier, T.L.
Short DescriptionAgricultural Systems, 72, 197-213.
CategorySubgroup 3: Scientific Basis for Goals and Management Options
Publication Year2002

Abstract: Data were collected from 1011 land owner-operators within three watersheds located in the North Central Region of the USA to examine use of selected water protection practices. A theoretical model developed from selected components of the traditional diffusion paradigm and the farm structure model was used to predict adoption and use of conservation practices at the farm level within the study watersheds. Study findings revealed that factors commonly purported to be highly correlated with adoption of conservation production systems were not useful for predicting use of conservation production practices assessed. The production practices examined in the study were percent of cultivated fields surrounded by grass filter strips, percent of waterways in cultivated fields protected by grass, use of banded fertilizer, use of side dressing of fertilizer, and use of nitrification inhibitor. Study findings revealed that the theoretical model developed to guide the study was relatively ineffective for predicting adoption of the conservation practices assessed in the study. None of the statistical models developed from analysis of study data explained more than nine percent of the variance in any of the conservation practices assessed. Research findings suggest that existing conservation programs are no longer useful policy instruments for motivating land owner-operators to adopt and use production systems designed to reduce agricultural pollution of waterways.