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Conservation ethics: A farmer's foundation for the protection of natural resources

Darla Jo Juhl, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


For over sixty-five years, local, state, and federal agencies have been providing technical and financial assistance to farmers in the United States to apply conservation practices. While considerable money has been spent and many conservation practices have been applied, it hasn't always been done in the most effective and efficient manner. The purpose of this study is to create a repeatable and effective process conservation agencies can use to assist with conservation management. ^ In the past, areas have been targeted based on the conservation need of the natural resources. This study, is based on the need of the natural resources as well as the conservation ethic of the farmers and ranchers and their knowledge of the health of the natural resources. The farmers' conservation ethic and knowledge of natural resources was based on personal interviews, conducted in 1998, with 213 randomly selected farmers in Saunders County, Nebraska. A Conservation Ethic Index (CEI) number was derived for each producer using Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA). Information for the conservation needs assessment was obtained from the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) used for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) applications. ^ The study depicts the five steps necessary to obtain a repeatable and effective process for conservation agencies to target geographical areas for conservation programs. Step one is to conduct a Conservation Needs Assessment, while the next step is to create a spatial database of the farmers' CEI. The farmers' CEI indicates their willingness to apply conservation practices. In step four, the conservation agencies need to compare areas that ranked high for conservation need to those which ranked high for willingness to apply conservation practices. Areas ranking high in both assessments should be targeted for conservation programs. Step four, requires an assessment of the farmers' knowledge of natural resources. Information and training may need to be provided to the farmer before advancing to a possible fifth and final step. That last step would be to apply conservation practices, with funding assistance to the farmer, in the targeted area. ^

Subject Area

Geography|Agriculture, General|Environmental Sciences

Recommended Citation

Juhl, Darla Jo, "Conservation ethics: A farmer's foundation for the protection of natural resources" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3059950.