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Conservation on Rented Farmland: Testing Program Design Through a Large-scale Field Trial

Event Type
Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE)
426 Mumford Hall
Sep 29, 2023   12:00 - 1:00 pm  
Chloe Wardropper, Assistant Professor, Illinois Dept NRES
Originating Calendar
ACE Seminars

Agricultural conservation programs often focus on farm operators when promoting conservation practices. However, much of U.S. farmland is owned by landowners not directly involved in farm operations, i.e., non-operating landowners (NOLs). The Nature Conservancy’s ReThink Soil Health program undertook a large-scale field trial in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana to assess opportunities for conservation programs designed for NOLs. I will describe findings under the three aims of this project: 1) qualitative interviews and analysis of farmland owners’ and operators’ expressed challenges to implementing conservation on rented land; 2) a messaging experiment to test the effects of different message frames to recruit NOLs into the program (n=41,511); and 3) a randomized controlled trial of NOLs (n=2,225) to assess the relative effects of three interventions on cover crop adoption: information on conservation, adapted lease language, and cash payments. 

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