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Farmer Preferences for a Working Wetlands Program


This study investigates producer preferences for a voluntary program that compensates farmers for maintaining working wetlands on their land. A choice experiment designed to consider hypothetical program attributes showed an increase in payment and absence of additional conservation production requirements in surrounding cropland increases the probability of enrollment. Ranchers were more responsive to increases in payment rate than were farmers without cows. The negative impact of production requirements was moderated for those currently using the same practice on some part of the farm, but was stronger for those practicing alternative production practices. Farmers preferred a shorter contract. Farmers living on their farm were more likely to enroll in the program. Farmers more strongly agreeing that small wetlands benefit their operation and that it is important to protect wetlands and those who would drain less than 25% of their wetland if allowed to do so without penalty were less likely to enroll in the program. Those that consider more important the effect of a program on water quality were more likely to enroll.

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This work was supported by the Hatch Project ND01311, Understanding Producer Decision-making about Landscapes within the Prairie Pothole Region and Delta Waterfowl, Bismarck N.D.

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Correspondence to Cheryl Joy Wachenheim.

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Wachenheim, C.J., Roberts, D.C., Addo, N.S. et al. Farmer Preferences for a Working Wetlands Program. Wetlands 38, 1005–1015 (2018).

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  • Wetlands
  • Working lands
  • Conservation
  • Prairie pothole region
  • Choice experiment