Farm size, Irrigation Practices, and Conservation Program Participation in the U.S. Southwest
|Title||Farm size, Irrigation Practices, and Conservation Program Participation in the U.S. Southwest|
|Year of Publication||2012|
|Authors||Frisvold, GB, Deva, S|
|Journal||Irrigation and Drainage|
|Date Published||Oct 2012|
The US Department of Agriculture's Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey collects the most detailed and comprehensive data on US irrigation practices. Yet, because the data are only easily available in cross-tab form, data are rarely used for statistical analysis of irrigator behavior. Using data from Arizona and New Mexico, this study illustrates how statistical measures of association can be used test hypotheses about how farm size (measured by sales class) affects (i) use of water management information, (ii) investment in irrigation improvements, and (iii) participation in conservation programs. Parametric (Cochran_Armitage trend test) and nonparametric (Goodman_Kruskall gamma) methods yielded similar results. Reliance on low-cost, general information was common among all size classes, while larger operations relied more on private, tailored information. Larger operations were more likely to use directly provided data (e.g. media and Internet reports) than smaller operators, who relied more on information provided by intermediaries. Smaller farms were less likely to investigate irrigation improvements, use management-intensive methods for irrigation scheduling, or participate in cost-share programs to encourage adoption of improved irrigation practices. Adoption of scientific irrigation scheduling methods was low for all groups, but especially low for small-scale irrigators. There appear to be significant barriers to information acquisition, use of management-intensive irrigation practices, and participation in conservation programs among smaller-scale irrigators.