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Conservation practice complementarity and timing of on‐farm adoption

Elizabeth Canales, Jason Bergtold () and Jeffery R. Williams

Agricultural Economics, 2020, vol. 51, issue 5, 777-792

Abstract: The adoption of conservation practices is a dynamic process. Factors that vary over time can affect farmers’ decision to adopt and adoption timing. We used a duration model to evaluate the farmer's adoption time for continuous no‐till (CNT), cover crops (CCs), and the variable‐rate application of inputs (VRA). We found that producers who had previously adopted soil conservation practices were more likely to adopt additional complementary practices. Farmers using crop rotation adopted CNT and CCs approximately 48% and 62% faster than farmers without a crop rotation, respectively. The CC adoption time was also reduced by 70% for farmers who had adopted CNT. Complementarities between conservation practices may enhance the benefits from adoption and allow farmers to adopt bundles of conservation practices more quickly over time. This can be taken advantage of in conservation programs by promoting or requiring practices first that enhance adoption of other practices. We also found important heterogeneity in the adoption speed associated with farm management characteristics, producers’ attitudes, weather patterns, and crop prices.

Date: 2020
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