Principal Investigator: Dr. Karlyn Eckman
Organization: University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Science
Project Dates: 2014-2016
Printable version of the Executive Summary (PDF: 358 KB / 4 pages)
1. To better inform the implementation process of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP), the University of Minnesota (UMN) carried out a longitudinal KAP (knowledge, attitudes and practices) study process in three pilot watersheds. The purpose was to
a) Provide MAWQCP with baseline information about the knowledge, attitudes and practices of farmers in the pilot watersheds;
b) Assess the capacity of the producers, communities and local organizations and to understand motivational and incentive actions for each; and
c) Enable MAWQCP to better scope communications and outreach efforts.
In addition, the study was intended to help MDA and its partners plan, target and evaluate the MAWQCP. The major focus of this study is individual agricultural producers in three pilot Minnesota watersheds: Middle Sauk, Whiskey Creek and Whitewater. The three watersheds differ in crops and production systems, agronomic practices, topography, rainfall and other environmental parameters. These were taken into account in the survey, and variables were adapted to local conditions.
2. First-round formative KAP studies were completed in 2014, and second-round summative studies in 2016. Methodology included a modified KAP study (knowledge, attitudes, practices) (Eckman et al 2013; Eckman 2013) using the Dillman Total Design Method (Dillman 2008). IRB exemption was obtained for the study from the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research. 1453 respondents were included in the sample, and the combined pre/post total response rate was 66%. In general, one would expect to see improvements in knowledge, attitude and practices variables over time in the program. Those values showing mixed results or a decline are flagged in the report, as they indicate the need for more information, outreach, or other programmatic strategies.
3. Study findings revealed that ownership and land tenancy patterns are complex, with the number of owner-operators in decline and cash-rent producers increasing. Less than half of agricultural landowners in Whitewater and Whiskey Creek actively farm their own land. Many producers simultaneously farm their own land, rent land from others, and rent out parcels to other producers. There are significant differences between owner-operators and land owners renting their land to others in their knowledge, attitudes and practices. It is likely that the two groups will not respond equally to the same messages. That is, informational messages should be developed that are tailored to each group. Owners renting their land to others do not appear to be familiar with the practices of their renters. There has been little prior research on tenancy in Minnesota, and MDA should consider a study to better understand the needs and priorities of non-owner operators.
4. Knowledge questions
5. Attitudes questions
6. Practices questions
Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division