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Conservation Adoption Preference, Determinants of Conservation Program Enrollment and Conservation Adoption in Oklahoma's Fort Cobb Resrvoir Watershed

Tong, Benjamin Harlow
The first essay (CHAPTER I) found the on-farm and socio-demographic characteristic determinants of agricultural producers� in Oklahoma�s Fort Cobb Reservoir Watershed for both conservation program enrollment and the number of conservation practices adopted. A 2014 survey of agricultural producers in the Ft. Cobb Watershed was used. To discover the determinants of program enrollment a logistic model is utilized. To discover the determinants of the number of conservation practices adopted on the farm a poisson model was used. Results indicate that the percent of income derived from farming, farm size, attitudes concerning stewardship or the environment, gender and formal education are important characteristics that play into conservation enrollment decisions. For the number of conservation practices adopted on the farm, the percent of income form farming the experience of the farmer in years, the number of informational sources used for adoption decisions, attitudes concerning the environment and stewardship, and gender are important factors influencing soil and water conservation practice implementation. Policy makers who want to affect enrollment and adoption quickly should focus on more experienced, females who are highly educated producers. If they want to target producers who are not enrolling and adopting frequently they should target younger less experienced male producers. The second essay (CHAPTER II) determines the most important to least important benefits or characteristics of a conservation practice during both producers� and non-farming and absentee landowners� conservation adoption decision-making process. A 2014 survey of landowners in the Ft. Cobb reservoir watershed was used. This study utilizes maximum-difference scaling, also called best-worst analysis. Results indicated that the most important reason landowners adopt conservation practices is if a practice benefits the farm ecosystem. The second most important reason for adoption is if the practice improves profit. However, the decision making process for non-farming and/or absentee landowners and landowning agricultural producers are found to be statistically different from one another. This is shown in the order of how the two groups rank the reasons for adopting conservation practices and also the percentage of each group that ranks each benefit as the most important reason for adoption. Results indicate that current incentives are not as attractive for absentee landowners that producers and that different land tenure groups make adoption decisions differently.