Farmers and conservation programs: Explaining differences in environmental quality incentives program applications between states

A. P. Reimer, B. M. Gramig, L. S. Prokopy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite its economic and social benefits, agriculture is now a leading source of water pollution in the United States. While significant research effort has attempted to understand adoption of conservation practices on agricultural lands, relatively little research has explored the operation of specific agri-environmental policies in the United States. This research attempts to gain an understanding of how differing agricultural and sociopolitical contexts across the United States influence attempted participation in national agricultural conservation programs. Application rates in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) differ across the 50 states, indicating potentially important differences in state setting that influence behavior of individual farm operators. A variety of agricultural and sociopolitical measures were included in a fractional logit model to assess factors contributing to varying rates of application to EQIP. Significant explanatory variables included high sales farm prevalence, tenancy rates, and views on federal environmental spending. There also appears to be a large regional effect, with states in the Southeast, Mountain West, and Northeast having higher application rates than those in the Corn Belt. The results of this analysis indicate that certain types of farmers are more likely to seek participation in this large agricultural conservation program. Further research is needed to assess the role of government agencies (federal, state, and local) in influencing participation rates and what role individual political opinion may play in decisions related to federal cost share programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Application rate
  • Best management practice adoption
  • Conservation program
  • Environmental quality incentives program
  • State implementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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