AGRICULTURAL BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE ADOPTION DECISIONS AND SPATIAL DEPENDENCE IN SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA FARMS AND WATERSHEDS

Open Access
Author:
Kaufman, Zachary Dale
Graduate Program:
Agricultural Economics
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 02, 2011
Committee Members:
  • James Samuel Shortle, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • Best Management Practices
  • spatial modeling
  • count modeling
  • contagion
Abstract:
The objective of this study is to determine factors influencing the Best Management Practice (BMP) adoption decisions of farmers within 17 counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Specifically, the land-based characteristics of adoption are analyzed along with the spatial distribution of BMP adoption. In an attempt to discover patterns in adoption at varying scales, both farm and watershed-level models are utilized. BMP adoption across farms and watersheds is analyzed utilizing count models. Spatial lag, spatial error, and a general spatial model are utilized to determine whether contagion plays a role in BMP adoption decisions at the farm-level. Study results indicate that farm acreage and the presence of a stream are significant contributors to BMP adoption. However, the efficiency of policy targeting could be improved through greater emphasis on adoptions near impaired streams and in higher priority watersheds. Despite the presence of spatially correlated errors, results indicate that contagion plays a significant role in BMP adoption. It is hypothesized that neighbor interactions and social networking play a role in creating this spatial dependence.