Dueling Conservation Perspectives? : Agricultural conservation, local knowledge and information networks throughout the Delmarva Peninsula

Authors: Jaime Barrett*, University of Delaware
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: agriculture, best management practices, conservation, knowledge production, agri-environmental schemes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Governor's Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Agricultural conservation is of federal and state concern in the United States as evidenced by the current and previous Farm Bill. Agricultural conservation is enacted through the use of agricultural best management practices (BMPs), which are conservation practices that address a range of resource concerns including soil health and water quality. Current evidence indicates that adoption of conservation practices is in response to a number of different socioeconomic factors coupled with individual perceptions of conservation. These perspectives may be influenced by evolving relationships with the various heterogeneous actors involved in agricultural knowledge production. This research uses BMPs as a lens to investigate farmer perceptions of conservation practices throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, which is an area on the forefront of environmental initiatives related to water quality. Thirty semi-structured interviews were coupled with participant observation to investigate farmer resource concerns and the information sources that influence the decision to implement BMPs. Results indicate that interviewed farmers use a range of knowledge sources for conservation decisions and that they assign different values to these sources. This paper discusses the types and value of the different types of knowledge farmers use and how these sources are incorporated into a network of actors that contribute to agricultural knowledge production on the Delmarva Peninsula.

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