Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



The traditional view of the agricultural community as a good steward of the environment has been challenged by increasing concerns about the complex relationship between agricultural production activities and environmental quality. Agriculture provides a large range of products to satisfy human needs. It has also been singled out as major source of water pollution. Largely improved surface water quality has been assessed in the U.S. since the enactment of the Clean Water Act. However, efforts to reduce water pollution continue, targeting discharges from identifiable sources of water pollution and diffused discharges from nonpoint sources. Agricultural producers are encouraged to voluntarily implement site specific management practices known as best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the delivery and transport of agriculturally derived pollutants such as sediment, nutrients, pesticides, salt and pathogens to surface and ground waters. Louisiana is not a major U.S. milk producer. However, the dairy industry represents one of the most important animal agricultural industries in the state, and the need to adopt specific practices to improve water quality has become greater in the industry. This study examined the current implementation of BMPs by Louisiana dairy producers and investigated the likelihood of a dairy producer to adopt a conservation practice. Data for the analysis was based on a mail survey of the population of dairy producers conducted in Summer, 2001. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate probit analyses allowed for estimating the probability of a dairy producer adopting one, two or a set of BMPs, given the economic and non-economic factors hypothesized as determinant in the decision to adopt. Principal component analysis was used to reduce the number of explanatory variables needed for the multivariate probit analysis. Findings of this study emphasized the significant influence of farm size, milk productivity per cow, frequency of meetings with Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service (LCES) personnel, and producer's risk aversion on the increased adoption of BMP. Results also pointed out the need to address the lack of information regarding the legislation and the efforts to control nonpoint sources of water pollution through the use of BMPs, and the need of expanded incentives to induce producers' adoption.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jeffrey M. Gillespie