Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Candace K. May


Actual behavior, Attitudes, Conservation agriculture practices, Future intentionn, Subjective norms and Perceived behavioral control, The theory of planned behavior


Conservation agriculture practice is a sustainable farming method based on three principle: crop diversification, minimal soil disturbance or movement and permanent or semi-permanent of soil cover. Government and stakeholders within the agricultural sector in the United States are promoting conservation farming practices but limited voluntary adoption still exists among producers at the farm level. This research study investigated the factors that influence the adoption of conservation practices among producers in the eastern and central parts of South Dakota (SD). A modified theory of planned behavior (TPB) is used as a framework alongside socioeconomic and demographic indicators to understand farmers’ current behavior and future intentions towards the adoption of conservation practices. Data were gathered from a sample of 3000 farming operations whose main crops are corn, soybeans, and wheat. Respondents were contacted three times using a modified tailored design approach by Don A. Dillman. The results from the Pearson correlation and the binary logistic regression confirms that TPB is a useful framework for understanding the behavior of farmers. Most of the three constructs of the TPB correlated significantly to the adoption of cover crops, conservation tillage, and diversified crop rotation. The binary logistic regression model also suggests that attitude and perceived behavioral control predicted farmers' likelihood of adopting conservation tillage. This study also provided empirical evidence of the conservation practices producers currently use and those that they don’t use but intend to use in the future. This will help policymakers and conservation practitioners to develop policy measures that will help increase the voluntary adoption of conservation practices among farmers in SD.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Agricultural conservation -- South Dakota.
Farmers -- South Dakota -- Attitudes.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright