Why farmers adopt best management practice in the United States: a meta-analysis of the adoption literature

J Environ Manage. 2012 Apr 15;96(1):17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.10.006. Epub 2011 Nov 25.


This meta-analysis of both published and unpublished studies assesses factors believed to influence adoption of agricultural Best Management Practices in the United States. Using an established statistical technique to summarize the adoption literature in the United States, we identified the following variables as having the largest impact on adoption: access to and quality of information, financial capacity, and being connected to agency or local networks of farmers or watershed groups. This study shows that various approaches to data collection affect the results and comparability of adoption studies. In particular, environmental awareness and farmer attitudes have been inconsistently used and measured across the literature. This meta-analysis concludes with suggestions regarding the future direction of adoption studies, along with guidelines for how data should be presented to enhance the adoption of conservation practices and guide research.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics*
  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Attitude*
  • Humans
  • Social Environment
  • United States