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Institutional support for practicing sustainable agriculture

  • Peter F. Korsching (a1) and James E. Malia (a2)

Abstract

A mail survey of Iowa farmers with membership in the Practical Farmers of Iowa, a sustainable agriculture organization, was used to examine perceptions of institutional support for information on reducing chemical inputs, needed research for farming with sustainable practices, and policy needs for encouraging farmers to adopt sustainable practices. We first developed a chemical input index to measure commitment to sustainable practices and to analyze information sources and research and policy needs. Results indicate that sustainable farmers rely primarily on each other and on their personal experience for information about sustainable practices; they use conventional farm practice information sources considerably less. The primary research need identified by the respondents was for better nonchemical weed control. Other important research needs identified were: nonchemical insect control, new seed varieties, cover crops, alternative tillage methods, and the economics of sustainable systems. The primary policy needs identified were more information and educational programs about sustainable agriculture and increased taxes on farm chemical use. We discuss the implications of the relationship between institutional support and the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices.

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References

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Keywords

Institutional support for practicing sustainable agriculture

  • Peter F. Korsching (a1) and James E. Malia (a2)

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