Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2011


Great Plains Research 21 (Fall 2011):203-14


© 2011 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The purpose of this study was to gauge the impact of agriculture and energy policies on conservation practices through a survey of conservation reserve program (CRP) contract holders in a selected Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota-Burleigh, Kidder, and Stutsman Counties. The survey results showed that 48% of respondents are considering returning CRP acres to annual crop production once the contract expires. The largest influence on post-CRP land use was the market prices for production of annual crops. Respondents also identified lack of knowledge of conservation programs as a large hurdle to participation. This may indicate a need for improved communication from program information sources such as the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, from where most contract holders get their information. These findings also provide interesting insight into the motivation and decision-making process surrounding conservation programs, in particular continued participation in the CRP. By understanding the main motivation and considerations for conservation participation (market prices, cost-sharing opportunities, and expected cost of production), federal conservation programs will be able to maximize conservation efforts, which will benefit landowners and resources alike.