Understanding conservation decisions of agriculture producers

Journal of Wildlife Management
By:  and 



Most land in the United States (US) is privately owned and used for agriculture. To address the effect of agriculture on wildlife, conservation professionals and organizations need to understand the land use decisions made by farmers and ranchers. We developed a tool for categorizing farmers and ranchers by their conservation land use values (LUVs) to understand how those values affect their land use motivations and resultant decisions. We defined land as the whole natural environment including soil, water, plants, fish, and wildlife. We used principal axis factoring and reliability analysis to identify statements representing human-centered values and nature-centered values of farmers and ranchers. We tested the validity of the combined statements with a survey of South Dakota’s private landowners (N = 4,000, [Jan through May 2016]) resulting in the LUV scale. Crossing the average scores on the human-centered and nature-centered statements identified 4 LUV types: humans first (20%), nature first (29%), interconnected (29%), and disconnected (22%). Analysis of variance and chi-square tests showed that, compared to the humans first and disconnected LUV types, the nature first and interconnected LUV types reported significantly greater importance of the following: most categories of types of wildlife in their land use decisions; conservation-related motivations for participating in a United States Farm Bill Conservation Program; conservation-related motivations for land use decisions; and participation in conservation-related behaviors. Conservation professionals and organizations may use the LUV scale to better understand landowners’ land use decisions to evaluate and inform conservation policy, programs, messaging, and improve conservation outcomes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Understanding conservation decisions of agriculture producers
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21643
Volume 83
Issue 4
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 12 p.
First page 993
Last page 1004
Country United States