Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



Increasing environmental concerns, population, and changing preferences of consumers towards healthier foods, and agronomic practices have all aligned to provide not only food and fiber, but also sustainable practices useful to the environment. Cover crops, a type of agricultural technology, provide private and public benefits, which are vital for organic production. The objectives of this study are: 1) Identify determinants of cover crop adoption; 2) analyze how nitrogen management varies by farm relative to adoption or non-adoption of this technology; 3) estimate the change in the probability of adoption of cover crops due to farm, regional and operator characteristics by non-adopters; and 4) estimate the change in intensity in nitrogen use by cover crop adopters due to farm, regional, and operator characteristics. To address our objectives, we developed a two-stage simultaneous equation model where the first stage provides information on the factors affecting adoption of cover crops using a probit model. To better understand the effects of cover crops on the amount of nitrogen use by producers we use a left-censored tobit model and incorporated the adoption of cover crops as an endogenous variable. To estimate the intensity of the effect of adoption of cover crops, we used the McDonald and Moffitt (1980) decomposition of the marginal effects. The results of the probit model showed that producer’s age, experience, experience squared, all conservative payments, using other producers (who grow cover crops) and organic fertilizer dealers as information sources when making nitrogen management decisions had a significant effect on cover-crop adoption. The results of the tobit model showed econometrically that cover crop adoption had a significant effect on nitrogen use by producers. Three other variables that had a significant effect on nitrogen use by producers were field slope of 12% or more, rented field, and off-farm work.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Westra, John V.