Ground water contamination from agricultural sources: implications for voluntary policy adherence from Iowa and Virginia farmers' attitudes.



Contamination of ground water from agricultural sources has been documented in a majority of the contiguous US. In this study, we examine the potential for voluntary adoption of management practices that reduce risk of ground water contamination and discuss how farm operators' attitudes regarding the environment might affect the success of voluntary programs. Farmers' behavior and attitudes in Rockingham County, Virginia, and Big-Spring Basin, Iowa, reveal that both groups consider the ground water issue to be a serious problem to which they are contributing. This awareness is a significant first step in prompting consideration of management practices that reduce the threat to ground water quality. We also found that the "worst offenders' were those with the least concern about the problem. If major shifts in farming practices are to occur voluntarily, major incentives or disincentives are needed. Ultimately, policies designed to reduce ground water contamination may need a mix of strategies, including economic incentives and disincentives, zoning and land use restrictions, environmental regulations, and bans on agricultural chemicals. -from Authors


Natural Resources and the Environment

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American Journal of Alternative Agriculture


Cambridge University Press

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