Rampold, S. D., Lamm, A. J., and McKee, B. (2020). Exploring consumer financial support to inform communication about agricultural best management practices. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(1), 60-73. doi: 10.5032/jae.2020.01060
The benefits to the environment associated with farmer adoption of Best Management Practices (BMPs) is well documented, yet the agricultural industry has resisted widespread acceptance and implementation. Network support, level of education/knowledge, and financial concerns have all been found as contributing factors impacting adoption. Extension agents can increase knowledge levels through direct education with farmers; however, network support in the form of public support and willingness to pay for engagement in BMPs may be the best way to combine the network and financial support farmers need to increase engagement. Unfortunately, little is known about public interest in supporting BMP engagement. This study was conducted to determine public willingness to pay for BMP engagement and identify the characteristics of those willing to pay more for food produced using BMPs so that agricultural communication efforts may be targeted at both consumers and producers. Findings indicated there was public support for BMP adoption and that most supported a 10% increase in food prices when purchasing food produced using BMPs. Recommendations are provided regarding marketing strategies and how agricultural communicators can identify and utilize BMP opinion leaders to assist in educating a broad base of consumers in the cost of BMP engagement.