Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Larry Janssen


This study investigates grassland and cropland conversion decisions in the Dakotas. Data from a 2015 survey completed by 1,026 producers located in 57 counties of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) were used to evaluate land conversions. This thesis attempts to identify the land use conversion incidence and rate (grass to crop and crop to grass); the link between past and projected land use conversion decisions in the Dakotas, and determinants of land use conversion using different statistical tools, including logistic regression methods. A regional analysis of converted acres reveals that the grass to crop conversion rates (as percent of 2014 cropland acres operated) was 7.2% in both states, with more CRP grass conversion in North Dakota and tame/native grass conversion in South Dakota. Grassland to cropland conversion is more active in the central regions of both states compared to the eastern regions. The study also reports that economic price/cost/selected technology factors (ECT) had the highest average impacts and greatest difference by operator characteristics. The binary logit regression analysis confirms that farmland acres, farm/ranch sales, expansion of past farmland acres and region are related to almost all of the land use conversion decisions. Grassland (including CRP) to cropland use conversion is less likely to occur in East Central SD and East ND than in other regions. Cropland to grassland use conversion is less likely to occur in East North Dakota compared to other regions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Land use, Rural -- South Dakota

Land use, Rural -- North Dakota

Land use, Rural -- Prairie Pothole Region

Grasslands -- South Dakota

Grasslands -- North Dakota

Cropland conversion program -- South Dakota

Cropland conversion program -- North Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (page 118-124)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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