Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Steven A. Henning


Agriculture has been singled out as one of the major nonpoint sources of water pollution. To identify alternative policy tools for the implementation of a non-regulatory approach to comply with the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program (CNPCP) required by The Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, policy makers need to determine factors that may influence producers' willingness to adopt proposed Best Management Practices (BMPs). Neoclassical economic concepts of utility maximization on the part of agricultural producers constitutes the theoretical background in this study, but it is enhanced with the incorporation of a well proved set of theoretical tools based on psychological constructs that account for the measurement of attitudes as complementary causes of behavior. Policy analysis and implementation are studied in terms of (1) achievement of environmentally desirable goals and (2) the aim of keeping agriculture as an economically viable activity. A set of multivariate probit models are tested using primary data collected through a mail survey of Louisiana's sugarcane producers. Results indicate that contemporaneous correlation of the error terms exists among management practices within management measures, and between management measures. It indicates that policy tools must be developed in an integrated manner. The decision to adopt BMPs is significantly influenced by the number of times producers have met with extension service personnel and the number of grower meetings that the producer has attended in the previous year. Participation in cost-sharing has also had a very significant effect on adoption of best management practices, even if no cost sharing programs exist for all practices. Risk of yield loss is not a factor in the adoption of the BMPs included in the study. Farmers' belief that agriculture reduces the quality of water coming off farmland is significant for most management measures. Debt is also a significant variable for most management measures, with a positive sign. As compliance requirements become more stringent, tenure becomes a factor in the adoption of best management practices. Policy makers should consider these results as new strategies are developed to promote adoption of BMPs that reduce nonpoint source water pollution from agricultural sources.