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Agricultural conservation networks in Iowa


Iowa's farmlands, celebrated for their remarkable agricultural productivity, are facing pressing environmental challenges, including soil erosion, waterway nitrogen pollution, and vulnerability to extreme weather events. These issues imperil the state's agricultural sector's long-term sustainability and economic stability. Despite substantial investments from governmental and non-governmental entities to encourage conservation practice use, adoption rates remain persistently low. In this report, we use quantitative, qualitative, and social network analysis on a sample of 38 farmers to understand how social networks shape their adoption of conservation practices. We analyze data through a systems framework and compare counties with high- and low-adoption of conservation practices to assess influences from the individual farmer level to the broader societal context. We conclude with a discussion of strategic implications to promote conservation adoption.


September 2023.

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social network analysis
cover crops
no-till farming


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