Missouri natural resource professionals share key insights for supporting agroforestry practices through cost-share funding available from USDA conservation programs

Raelin Kronenberg, Sarah Lovell, Damon Hall, Alexandra Harmon-Threatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agroforestry plantings offer a promising ecologically based solution to address agricultural resource concerns while simultaneously achieving conservation goals, because they provide multiple benefits including reduced soil erosion, decreased nutrient runoff, increased biodiversity and greater farm income stability. Despite these benefits, the adoption of agroforestry practices remains low throughout the United States. One approach intended to increase the implementation of these ecologically beneficial practices is to offer financial incentives for landowners. Several USDA conservation programs provide applicant landowners with financial and technical resources to implement approved conservation practices, including tree planting. Missouri offers a unique socio-political context for the application of agroforestry tree plantings in established conservation programs as it is currently the only state with an Environmental Quality Incentives Program fund pool dedicated to agroforestry and woody crop establishment. To gather initial information on the potential for agroforestry in Missouri, seven conservation professionals from prominent agencies, including Natural Resource Conservation Service and University of Missouri Extension, were interviewed. The purpose of these interviews was to gather in-depth knowledge on (1) the current dialogue around trees in conservation programs between natural resource professionals and landowners (2) the relationships between landowners and conservation agencies and (3) the professionals' knowledge of and familiarity with agroforestry practices. Preliminary findings suggest there are misconceptions about the requirements and regulations for conservation programs among landowners and conservation professionals. Another common theme was that conservation agencies face challenges in forming long-term connections with landowners, and they rely primarily on landowners to reach out for assistance. Lastly, conservation professionals are supportive of agroforestry but wish for greater knowledge of the practices before promoting them to landowners. Due to the small sample size of interview participants, these insights provide one perspective into the agroforestry knowledge of natural resource professionals. These initial findings will help direct future research on how well natural resource professionals understand agroforestry concepts and how they are engaging with Missouri farmers to support them in planting trees on their land.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18
JournalRenewable Agriculture and Food Systems
StatePublished - Mar 17 2023


  • Adoption
  • agroforestry
  • conservation
  • farming
  • multifunctional landscapes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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