Identifying the barriers and strategies to accelerate adoption of critical edge-of-field conservation practices: A farmer-centric integrated research & extension approach

Aug 2021


We have extensive knowledge regarding the incentives and barriers for working-land conservation practices. However, in contrast, we have much less understanding regarding what induces or inhibits landowners’ and farmers’ adoption of edge-of-field practices.


The purpose of this project is to provide the first comprehensive assessment of Iowa landowners’ and farmers’ views on and barriers to adopting key edge-of-field practices to further accelerate progress toward Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy nutrient reduction goals.


The novelty of this project lies in its design and timeliness. Researchers will conduct a survey of 3,000 landowners and farmers in five HUC-8 watersheds in the Des Moines Lobe region with varying levels of nutrient reduction adoption and conduct three listening sessions with approximately 45 participants (15 in each session). In addition, they are adding an edge-of-field practices section to the Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure survey, mandated every five years by the Iowa Code, set to be conducted in 2022. The research will also provide insights from split sample design and information treatments on the most effective outreach and education strategy for promoting three key edge-of-field practices — wetlands, saturated buffers and bioreactors. Another key aspect of this research will be identifying the necessary payments for farmers and landowners to adopt wetland adoption and their general behaviors and attitudes toward edge-of-field practices.