Date of Award
Master of Science
Lois W. Morton
As the world population grows, the need for food, fiber, and fuel will increase. Farmers are in a unique position to provide these resources and serve as the stewards of the fresh water on the planet. Currently U.S. farmers do not uniformly understand the role their production practices have on water quality and therefore are not taking action to address the impacts their practices have had, and continue to have, on surface water and groundwater. Hewitt Creek Watershed farmers in northeast Iowa have demonstrated that it is possible for farmers to come together within a watershed to address water and soil quality issues, while maintaining farm operation profitability. Through the use of two feedback mechanisms, identity change and performance-based management tools, these farmers came to understand the environmental impacts of their farm practices on the surface and groundwater in their watershed. They adopted practices that allow them to remain profitable in addition to protecting the soil and water on their land. In the process, these farmers modified not only their farm management practices they also changed their attitudes and beliefs about their role in the improving and protecting the quality of the water that flows from their farms into the Mississippi River watershed.
Jean Marie Mcguire
Mcguire, Jean Marie, "The Hewitt Creek Watershed Group: A study of mechanisms that led to the adoption of farm management practices to improve water quality" (2010). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 11229.