An empirical analysis of climate change perceptions and conservation tillage practices of Indiana farmers

Jessa M Becker, Purdue University


Issues involving conservation agriculture have long been fundamentally important for Midwestern farmers. With recent attention around efforts to mitigate greenhouse gases on the international and even local levels, agriculture is noted as a sector with the potential to supply carbon offsets in a cap-and-trade market. Conservation tillage is a proven agricultural best management practice with the potential to sequester atmospheric carbon. The motivation for this study comes in light of heightened concern about climate change and its implications for farmers and their growing conditions around the globe. With the 1994 signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and near universal acceptance of this framework today, policymakers need to be receptive to what motivates change now more than ever before. Several previous studies have proposed that perhaps the best way to inform and educate farmers and the public is to focus on the most local of concerns. This thesis attempts to determine adopter characteristics using a state-level study, as distinct from previous studies which have attempted to determine more universal determinants of adoption. A survey of Indiana farmers was designed and implemented to collect data on perceptions of climate change policies and other farm demographics in order to learn about the determinants of no-till adoption on Indiana farms. A total of 814 usable mail and internet surveys were collected from a sample of 2,000 Indiana farmers. Principal component analysis was performed on two separate sets of questions within the survey and a series of logit regression models were estimated to understand no-till adoption. Results suggest that older farmers, larger farm sizes, the southern region of Indiana, and proximity to information via social networks were among the most significant factors leading to adoption.




Gramig, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Climate Change|Agricultural economics|Natural Resource Management

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