Committed to conservation

(Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

A new American Soybean Association (ASA) soil health and conservation study shows soybean farmers are active conservationists with a desire to do more.

Conducted through third-party surveys and focus groups in 2019, the study showed 73% of farmers surveyed said they would implement more measures if they thought it would be profitable to do so.

The research also found that growers have, on average, 14 long-standing conservation practices in place, recently have added new ones and intend to implement more — despite the average grower having to pay for all conservation measures, with average expenditures totaling more than $15,000 per year. Most farmers (78%) manage rental land the same as land they own, paying conservation expenditures even on rented land.

The study further showed grower organizations and land grant universities were identified as the most trusted sources of information for farmers, along with other farmers. The study also identified farmers need better information — not better communications — to set up their conservation efforts for success.

With support from the Walton Family Foundation, ASA conducted four focus groups and a quantitative survey among ASA members and boards in 13 states surrounding the Mississippi River basin. Data was collected from December 2018 to July 2019. Millennium Research, Inc. conducted the survey and focus groups.