Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Larry Janssen


This thesis conducts a general assessment of the: main drivers of land use change; recent and projected land use patterns; and the evolution of agriculture in the Dakotas. Specifically, it determines the main motives of land use change in the Dakotas by investigating individual and joint effects of external drivers of land use change on farm operators’ decisions and also examines recent and projected agricultural land use patterns in the Dakotas. Farm operators’ perceptions about the evolution of agriculture in the Dakotas based on observed changes in their local area were also analyzed. The study region consists of 37 counties in South Dakota and 20 counties in North Dakota, located in the Prairie Pothole region (PPR) where corn and soybeans are the dominant crops. The counties also included the localities where considerable change in cropping patterns has occurred in the past 20 years and where considerable conversion of grassland, all types, to cropland has occurred in the past 10 years (2004 to 2014). Data collected from 1026 producer respondents from the sampled counties via a survey questionnaire, was analyzed using SAS programing and MS Excel, 2012 edition, to produce frequencies, rankings, logistic regression, summary descriptive statistics, proportions and bar charts. xv The results show that, changing crop prices, changing prices in input markets, improved crop yields, development of more efficient cropping equipment, and changing climate and weather patterns are the top five farm related issues with the greatest impact on farmers’ decisions regarding their own land use. Also, the proportions of grassland (excluding CRP) converted to cropland acres between 2004 and 2014 to total cropland acres operated in 2014, were 1.06% and 3.83% for ND and SD respectively. The proportion of grassland (including CRP) converted to cropland acres between 2004 and 2014 as a proportion of cropland acres operated in 2014 were 6.81% in ND and 7.08% in SD. Finally, it was found that a majority of producers indicated that current temperatures, precipitation patterns and drought cases have not changed much in the last ten years and would likely be about the same in the next ten years. However, for respondents projecting changes in the future were much more likely to project higher temperatures, less precipitation, and more occurrence of drought. The survey approach adopted by this study has been useful and quite effective in understanding producer perspective on factors influencing their agricultural land use changes and land management decisions in the Dakotas.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Land use, Rural -- South Dakota
Land use, Rural -- North Dakota
Landscape changes -- South Dakota
Landscape changes -- North Dakota
Farm management -- South Dakota
Farm management -- North Dakota
Climatic changes


Includes bibliographical references (pages 114-121)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright