Adoption of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the New York City watershed: The role of farmer attitudes

A. Armstrong, E. J. Ling, R. Stedman, P. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Despite widespread adoption of conservation practices by farmers in the Cannonsville watershed, part of the New York City water supply system, there is considerable resistance to riparian buffer practices of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Traditional approaches to promoting CREP adoption, based on the adoption-diffusion model, were not effective in promoting CREP. We surveyed farmers in the Cannonsville watershed to evaluate factors affecting CREP adoption. Many variables commonly tied to practice adoption, including farm structure and farmer sociodemographic traits, were poorly correlated with the attitudes of Cannonsville farmers toward CREP. Attitudes toward land costs and farmer resentment toward New York City's control of land and conservation policy were, however, strong predictors of CREP adoption. This suggests that as regional watershed collaborations become more active in managing private landowner conservation behaviors, resentment factors may inhibit adoption of the encouraged practices. Findings provide insight into mechanisms to improve upstream-downstream partnerships and the potential to balance clean water resources with local agricultural production priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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