The Most Widely Adopted Conservation Practices

The Most Widely Adopted Conservation Practices

Farmers have several common conservation practices at their disposal. The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) was interested in seeing which were the most common.

“Some practices are more widely adopted than other practices,” ERS notes in its recent report on the subject. “No conservation practice has been universally by U.S. farmers.”

According to the ERS, several factors are behind mixed adoption rates of conservation practices, including:

  • Variation in soil, climate and topography
  • Crop/livestock mix
  • Producer management skills
  • Financial risk aversion

“These factors affect the on-farm cost and benefit of practice adoption,” the ERS notes. “Presumably, farmers will adopt conservation practices only when the benefits exceed cost.”

ERS tapped into the USDA Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) to see which conversation practices have gained the most traction. According to ARMS data, no-till leads the way with 34.6% adoption, followed by grassed waterways (22.5%) and terraces (14.3%).


What conservation practices have you deployed on your farm? Continue the conversation in the comments.

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Spell Check

Willow Hill, IL
9/24/2015 08:47 PM

  We had over 20 inches of rain this year in june, some years preserving moisture hurts you more than it helps. The last 3 years no till fields around here have been planted the first of june instead of the first of may, talk about a yield penalty.

brodhead, WI
9/24/2015 03:37 PM

  no till works great it saves moister and prevents erosion.


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