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Conservation Plans and Soil and Water Conservation Practice Use: Evidence from Iowa

Conservation planning is the primary tool the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) uses to help farmers manage and protect the nation’s soil, water, air, plant, animal, energy, and human natural resources on privately owned lands. Seventy percent of the land in the United States is privately owned, which makes private land stewardship critical to the nation’s overall environmental health. Ten practices were selected and grouped into the following four general categories: (1) soil health, (2) nitrogen (N) management, (3) structural practices (e.g., terraces), and (4) cropland converted to perennial crops. Using a combination of prior research on BMP adoption and social-behavioral theory, we developed a statistical model to examine the relationships between having a conservation plan and practice use.

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