This paper explores how farm programs, watershed groups, and conservation decisions are related. In recent years, watershed groups have become a more important component of the decision process over the allocation of government subsidies focused on environmental improvements, and this research presents one of the first attempts to assess whether watershed groups have had an influence on landowner decisions. Three questions are addressed. First, we explore what factors influence landowner decisions to enter into government conservation programs. Second we consider factors that influence the adoption of conservation tillage. Third, we explore what factors influence farmer decisions to participate in watershed activities occurring near their farms. These questions are addressed with a survey of Ohio farmers conducted during the winter of 2004. The results indicate that watershed groups have had little influence on historically important programs like CRP and conservation tillage adoption, but that they seem to be having a more important influence in more recent programs and state and local programs. The results also indicate that conservation tillage decisions are mainly influenced by age, education, conservation compliance requirements, and attitudes. Surprisingly, owners appear less likely to engage in conservation tillage than renters.


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