Environmental Management

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 974–988 | Cite as

Midwestern US Farmers Perceive Crop Advisers as Conduits of Information on Agricultural Conservation Practices

  • Francis R. EanesEmail author
  • Ajay S. Singh
  • Brian R. Bulla
  • Pranay Ranjan
  • Linda S. Prokopy
  • Mary Fales
  • Benjamin Wickerham
  • Patrick J. Doran


Nonpoint source pollution from agricultural land uses continues to pose one of the most significant threats to water quality in the US, with measurable impacts across local, regional, and national scales. The impact and the influence of targeted conservation efforts are directly related to the degree to which farmers are familiar with and trust the entities providing the information and/or outreach. Recent research suggests that farmers consistently rank independent and retail-affiliated crop advisers as among the most trusted and influential sources for agronomic information, but little is understood about whether farmers are willing to receive advice from crop advisers on the use of practices that conserve soil and water, and, if so, whether crop advisers will be perceived as influential. We present survey data from farmers (n = 1461) in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron) watershed to explore these questions. Results suggest that farmers view crop advisers as trustworthy sources of information about conservation, and influential on management practices that have large conservation implications. We discuss these results, along with perceived barriers and opportunities to crop advisers partnering with traditional conservation agencies to enhance the impact of voluntary conservation programs.


conservation practice adoption farmers crop advisers nonpoint source pollution Great Lakes 



Funding for this work was provided by the Cook Family Foundation and by the Mott Foundation (grant number 2010-01030.04).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis R. Eanes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ajay S. Singh
    • 2
  • Brian R. Bulla
    • 3
  • Pranay Ranjan
    • 2
  • Linda S. Prokopy
    • 2
  • Mary Fales
    • 4
  • Benjamin Wickerham
    • 4
  • Patrick J. Doran
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Environmental StudiesBates CollegeLewistonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Department of Government and Justice StudiesAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  4. 4.The Nature ConservancyLansingUSA

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