Identifying barriers and motivators for adoption of multifunctional perennial cropping systems by landowners in the Upper Sangamon River Watershed, Illinois

Abstract

The demand on agriculture to meet food security goals and mitigate environmental impacts requires multifunctional land-use strategies. Considering both farmer motivations and rural development needs, one option is to transition marginal farmland to perennial crops. In this study, we considered the potential for Multifunctional Perennial Cropping Systems (MPCs) that would simultaneously provide production and ecosystem service benefits. We examined adoption potential of MPCs on marginal farmland through an agricultural landowner survey in the Upper Sangamon River Watershed in Illinois, USA. We identified adoption preferences among landowners in conjunction with socio-demographic characteristics that would facilitate targeted implementation. Hierarchical cluster analysis and discriminant analysis identified landowner categories and key factors affecting adoption potential. Landowner age, appreciation for plant diversity, and future farm management involvement were the strongest predictors of potential MPCs adoption. The landowner categories identified within the survey data, supplemented with focus group discussions, suggested a high adoption potential farmer profile as a young, educated landowner with known marginal land they would consider converting to MPCs for improved soil and water quality conservation.

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Acknowledgements

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Award Number 2014-68006-22041. The authors would like to thank the survey and focus group participants for their valuable input.

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Correspondence to Chloe M. Mattia.

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Mattia, C.M., Lovell, S.T. & Davis, A. Identifying barriers and motivators for adoption of multifunctional perennial cropping systems by landowners in the Upper Sangamon River Watershed, Illinois. Agroforest Syst 92, 1155–1169 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-016-0053-6

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Keywords

  • Multifunctional cropping systems
  • Survey
  • Adoption
  • Hierarchical cluster analysis