J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr

J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr
Iowa State University | ISU · Department of Sociology

Ph.D.

About

92
Publications
25,255
Reads
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3,103
Citations
Citations since 2017
43 Research Items
2649 Citations
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Introduction
My research and extension efforts focus on improving the environmental and social performance of agricultural systems. My main area of interest is drivers of farmer and agricultural stakeholder decision making and action related to soil and water quality and adaptation to climate change. I direct the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, an annual survey of Iowa farmers. Thanks for visiting!

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
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Cropping system diversity can help build greater agroecosystem resilience by suppressing insect, weed, and disease pressures while also mitigating effects of extreme and more variable weather. Despite the potential benefits of cropping systems diversity, few farmers in the US Corn Belt use diverse rotations. This study examines factors that may inf...
Article
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Studies have pointed to a positive relationship between farmers' active engagement in watershed management (WM) and soil and water conservation practice adoption. If farmers' involvement in WM leads to more conservation, what predicts WM participation? This study seeks to answer that question through binomial logistic regression analysis of data fr...
Article
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The U.S. Midwest is a major producer of grain, meat, dairy, eggs, and other major agricultural commodities. It has also been increasingly impacted by climate change-related extreme weather over the last decade as droughts, extreme rains, floods, and, most recently, a severe derecho have damaged crops, livestock, and livelihoods. Climate and agricul...
Article
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The highly specialized maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] production system that dominates midwestern U.S. agriculture has led to widespread on‐farm and off‐farm degradation of and damage to natural resources. The practice of extending maize–soybean rotations with small grains and forages has great potential to balance product...
Article
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Understanding factors that motivate conservation behavior among farmers is crucial to addressing societal, soil, water, and wildlife conservation goals. Farmers employ soil conservation practices to maintain agricultural productivity while minimizing impacts to water and wildlife in the long-term. The majority of conservation programs are voluntary...
Article
Conservation practices (CPs) are integral to maintaining the long-term viability of agro-ecological systems. Because farming systems and farmers' values and attitudes are heterogeneous, factors that consistently predict conservation behaviors remain elusive. Moreover, heterogeneity is present among studies regarding the type of CPs examined, and wh...
Article
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Unlabelled: Participatory approaches to science and decision making, including stakeholder engagement, are increasingly common for managing complex socio-ecological challenges in working landscapes. However, critical questions about stakeholder engagement in this space remain. These include normative, political, and ethical questions concerning wh...
Article
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Researchers need probability samples to collect representative survey data about the behaviors and attitudes of agricultural producers they study in relation to the natural resources that they manage, yet obtaining accurate and complete sampling frames is challenging. We extract data from a publication database to identify the most commonly used sa...
Article
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The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) aims to reduce nutrient loads in waterways from nonpoint sources such as farm fields. Farmers’ voluntary adoption of soil and water conservation practices is crucial for achieving NRS goals. Although the Iowa NRS has been active since 2013, farmer participation and net pollutant reductions have been insuff...
Article
The long-term viability of United States (US) agriculture and food systems is contingent upon sustainable soil and water conservation. Currently, the majority of conservation practices rely on voluntary adoption by farmers. However, a large and growing proportion of farmland is rented, thereby presenting a conservation decision-making context where...
Article
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Anticipatory water planning must address not only future climatic conditions but also the experiential dimensions of risk that drive human and societal adaptation. Compared to the western USA, agricultural producers in the upper Corn Belt have had less exposure to extreme drought and less irrigated agriculture. If climate change threatens to increa...
Technical Report
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This report presents products from the virtual and professionally facilitated Advancing Engagement Workshop Series. Workshops were held between Fall 2020 and Summer 2021 and included participation from over 160 individuals including early career and established scholars and practitioners from multiple countries, institutions, and organizations. The...
Article
The world currently faces a suite of urgent challenges: environmental degradation, diminished biodiversity, climate change and persistent poverty and associated injustices. All of these challenges can be addressed to a large extent through agriculture. A dichotomy expressed as ‘food versus fuel’ has misled thinking and hindered needed action toward...
Article
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Farmer wildlife management practices are critical to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem functions across intensively used agricultural landscapes. Policies and initiatives aimed at encouraging these practices have generally focused on economic incentives, with limited effectiveness. Farmer identity theory addresses the emergence of norms, values a...
Article
This study surveyed 258 organic grain farmers in Iowa in the U.S. Midwest. We identified seven areas of challenges related to organic grain farming adoption: organic farming operations, marketing, policy, finance, inputs and information, social pressures, and land tenure. Respondents reported three key areas where extension programs were needed: ed...
Preprint
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Anticipatory water management must reflect not only future climatic conditions, but also the social and psychological dimensions of vulnerability that drive adaptation. Compared to the western U.S., farmers in the upper Corn Belt have had less exposure to extreme drought and have lower rates of irrigation adoption. If climate change threatens to in...
Article
As specialty crop production has become increasingly important to U.S. agriculture, public and private stakeholders have called for research and outreach efforts centered on risks posed by climate change. Drawing on a survey of specialty crop farmers, this study explores farmers’ perceptions of climate change risks. Underlying cognitive, experienti...
Article
CONTEXT The U.S. has the world's largest organic food market. However, low domestic production and a low adoption rate of organic grain farming limit the overall development of this sector. Multiple organic stakeholders have called for a better understanding of cognitive and motivational aspects of farmers' decision-making processes to help policym...
Article
The concept of embeddedness has long been central to theory about why farmers participate in local food systems. Yet few survey-based studies, and none using a representative sample of farmers who both do and do not market local food, have systematically examined the relationship of local food marketing to farmers’ sense of connection to and respon...
Article
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Farmers perceive a tension between short-term profit and long-term sustainability, which can be bridged by external investments in conservation. In the U.S., the Farm Bill plays an important role in providing this investment through conservation programs. Since the Farm Bill is influenced by various stakeholders, their perspectives tend to inform i...
Article
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As stakeholders prepare to lobby future Farm Bills, this study reveals farmers’ perspectives on federal conservation programs. In-depth interviews were held with ten farm environmental leaders, farmers who have extensive experience with conservation practices and federal conservation programs. Results reveal that conservation programs have played a...
Article
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Cover crops are grown between periods of regular crop production or planted into crops with the primary purpose of protecting and improving soil health. These crops possess several resilience-enhancing properties that are well-suited to help farmers adapt to climate change. Through an “adaptive capacities framework”, we examine how farmers' adaptiv...
Article
The sense of place (SOP) conceptual framework offers theoretical and empirical evidence that links peoples’ multifaceted connections to place(s) to their engagement in pro-environmental and conservation behaviors. The bulk of this research has focused on peoples’ connection to high-amenity places and landscapes. Recent research applies SOP in worki...
Article
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conducted an assessment of Iowa farm operators’ perceptions of the barriers and motivators when considering retrofitting tractors with rollover protective structures (ROPS). A statewide sample of approximately 2,000 farm operators was surveyed in the 2017 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll. A series of questi...
Article
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a statewide effort that aims to encourage voluntary adoption of conservation practices by farmers to reduce the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus that contribute to water quality impairments in the Upper Midwest and drive hypoxic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. This work is an analysis of the first 2 years (2...
Article
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In industrialized societies, techno-optimism is a belief that human ingenuity, through improved science and technology, will ultimately provide remedies to most current and future threats to human well-being, such as diseases, climate change, and poverty. Here we examine (a) whether techno-optimism is found among Midwestern corn and soybean farmers...
Article
In this article we examine in-depth interviews with farmers (n = 159) from nine Corn Belt states. Using a grounded theory approach, we identified a “soil stewardship ethic,” which exemplifies how farmers are talking about building the long-term sustainability of their farm operation in light of more variable and extreme weather events. Findings sug...
Article
Agriculture's negative effect on water quality has become increasingly well documented. Farmers have a range of conservation practices available, yet rate of adoption is not optimal. Extension and other agricultural stakeholders play a key role in promotion of conservation practice adoption. We used survey data to examine relationships between farm...
Article
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Potential climate-change-related impacts to agriculture in the upper Midwest pose serious economic and ecological risks to the U.S. and the global economy. On a local level, farmers are at the forefront of responding to the impacts of climate change. Hence, it is important to understand how farmers and their farm operations may be more or less vuln...
Article
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Significance Prairie strips are a new conservation technology designed to alleviate biodiversity loss and environmental damage associated with row-crop agriculture. Results from a multiyear, catchment-scale experiment comparing corn and soybean fields with and without prairie vegetation indicated prairie strips raised pollinator and bird abundance,...
Article
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This paper examines farmer intentions to adapt to global climate change by analyzing responses to a climate change scenario presented in a survey given to large-scale farmers (n = 4778) across the US Corn Belt in 2012. Adaptive strategies are evaluated in the context of decision making and farmers’ intention to increase their use of three productio...
Article
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Development of natural resource user typologies has been viewed as a potentially effective means of improving the effectiveness of natural resource management engagement strategies. Prior research on Corn Belt farmers' perspectives on climate change employed a latent class analysis (LCA) that created a six-class typology - the Concerned, Uneasy, Un...
Technical Report
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It is critical, given an increasingly variable climate and occurrence of extreme weather events, to develop and test management approaches that increase the adaptive capacity of corn-based agriculture, and equip farmers and land managers to be functionally resilient.The findings, implications and recommendations in this report represent research co...
Article
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Cover crops are known to promote many aspects of soil and water quality, yet estimates find that in 2012 only 2.3% of the total agricultural lands in the Midwestern USA were using cover crops. Focus groups were conducted across the Corn Belt state of Iowa to better understand how farmers confront barriers to cover crop adoption in highly intensive...
Article
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4-H LIFE represents a promising approach to addressing the needs of children of offenders and their caregivers. The 4-H Living Interactive Family Education (LIFE) Program was established in 1999 at the Potosi Correctional Center, a maximum security prison. 4-H LIFE is an enhanced or therapeutic visitation program with three key components: 1. paren...
Technical Report
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Corn is the major cereal crop of the United States, with two-thirds of national corn and soybean acreage concentrated in the upper Midwest. Farmers in the region have highly specialized knowledge and experience with these crops and considerable capital and infrastructure investments. It is critical, given an increasingly variable climate and occurr...
Technical Report
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In this paper we describe lessons learned from 1) social science research and 2) the experiences of a team of university extension and outreach educators. The research and the educators were a part of two USDA-NIFA climate projects,1 which were funded to increase Corn Belt agriculture’s capacity to adapt to and to assist in mitigating the impacts o...
Article
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Cover crops are widely viewed by the soil and water conservation community to be an effective means for reducing soil erosion and nutrient loss and increasing soil health, yet relatively few farmers have adopted the practice. Despite the widespread recognition of cover crops' benefits and increased promotional efforts, there have been very few peer...
Technical Report
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The 2014 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll Summary Report examines diverse topics including farmers' retirement and succession plans, reliance on professional advisers for decision-making support, use of information technology (e.g., smartphones), and perceptions of quality of life.
Data
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This atlas is the second in a series presenting data from a survey of Corn Belt farmers that was conducted in February and March 2012 by teams comprised from the U2U (http://AgClimate4U.org) and Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems CAP (http://www.sustainablecorn.org) projects. In 2011, the USDA funded the Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems...
Article
Transdisciplinary research teams offer an appropriate alternative to traditional research methods to address today's complex research problems. However, a lack of common technical language and differing attitudes on collaborative research can create challenges. This paper reports results of an evaluative survey on changes of collaborative capacity...
Article
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Row crop production in the United States (US) Midwest is responsible for a myriad of water pollution issues in the Mississippi River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico. US federal and state governments have spent billions of dollars since the 1930's to understand and develop biological and geophysical practices that will reduce the negative impacts of ag...
Article
The U.S. Cooperative Extension Service was created 100 years ago to serve as a boundary or interface organization between science generated at the nation′s land grant universities and rural communities. Production agriculture in the US is becoming increasingly complex and challenging in the face of a rapidly changing climate and the need to balance...
Article
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Climate change has serious implications for the agricultural industry-both in terms of the need to adapt to a changing climate and to modify practices to mitigate for the impacts of climate change. In high-income countries where farming tends to be very intensive and large scale, it is important to understand farmers' beliefs and concerns about cli...
Article
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Persistent above average precipitation and runoff and associated increased sediment transfers from cultivated ecosystems to rivers and oceans are due to changes in climate and human action. The US Upper Midwest has experienced a 37% increase in precipitation (1958-2012), leading to increased crop damage from excess water and off-farm loss of soil a...
Article
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Agriculture is vulnerable to climate change and a source of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Farmers face pressures to adjust agricultural systems to make them more resilient in the face of increasingly variable weather (adaptation) and reduce GHG production (mitigation). This research examines relationships between Iowa farmers’ trust in environmental or...
Technical Report
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More than 1,000 Iowans were surveyed to learn about their expectations for the state’s agricultural sector, their concerns about environmental quality, and their willingness to support greater public investment in policies and programs that work toward more resilient, productive agricultural landscapes that provide a range of benefi ts in addition...
Article
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The Farmer Perspectives on Agriculture and Weather Variability in the Corn Belt: A Statistical Atlas is a new publication available online at <http://www.sustainablecorn.org>. The atlas includes maps and tables that make it easy for readers to gauge farmer perspectives within the US Corn Belt. Topics covered include farmer beliefs about climate cha...
Conference Paper
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Scientists predict an increase in rainfall variability in the Midwest which will not only complicate agricultural management in the region but also will exacerbate watershed scale impairments (e.g., sediment and nutrient loss). In order to build more resilient production systems in light of climate change, farmers will increasingly need to implemen...
Technical Report
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In response to the recent spread of pesticide resistant weeds and insects in Iowa, the 2013 and 2014 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll surveys examined farmers’ perspectives on pesticide resistance and resistance management. Findings showed that many Iowa farmers believe that they have identified pesticide resistance on the land they farm, and most are...
Article
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Development of extension and outreach that effectively engage farmers in climate change adaptation and/or mitigation activities can be informed by an improved understand-ing of farmers' perspectives on climate change and related impacts. This research employed latent class analysis (LCA) to analyze data from a survey of 4,778 farmers from 11 US Cor...
Article
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Understanding U.S. agricultural stakeholder views about the existence of climate change and its causes is central to developing interventions in support of adaptation and mitigation. Results from surveys conducted with six Midwestern stakeholder groups [corn producers, agricultural advisors, climatologists, extension educators, and two different cr...
Article
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Excerpt Social scientists have explored why farmers engage in conservation activities for a number of decades, yet there is still a large degree of unexplained variation and a lack of understanding about the factors that contribute to, or inhibit, farmer conservation. Our goal with this article is to outline an agenda for future social science rese...
Conference Paper
Overcoming the food, energy, environment “trilemma” poses a major societal challenge at present. Strategically integrating strips of native prairie within row-cropped agroecosystems has the potential to provide feasible answers to the trilemma. Twelve zero-order watersheds in Iowa have been monitored since 2007 to evaluate the range of ecosystem se...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods With much of the U.S. Midwest in agricultural production and under private ownership, any viable conservation practice must fit within the context of currently profitable production systems. We study the ability of strategically integrated “prairie strips”—contour buffer and filter strips composed of diverse, native, p...
Conference Paper
Overcoming the food-energy-environment “trilemma” poses a major societal challenge. Strategically integrating strips of native prairie vegetation within row-cropped agroecosystems does just this. A replicated watershed experiment in Iowa, USA, called STRIPs, establishes how prairie strips slow and purify water and provide habitat for native biodive...
Article
Calls for improved targeting of conservation resources are increasingly common. However, arguments for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of agricultural conservation programs through proactive targeting are often tempered by questions regarding political feasibility. Such questions rest on an assumption that there will be resistance to the...
Article
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Agriculture is both vulnerable to climate change impacts and a significant source of greenhouse gases. Increasing agriculture’s resilience and reducing its contribution to climate change are societal priorities. Survey data collected from Iowa farmers are analyzed to answer the related research questions: (1) do farmers support adaptation and mitig...
Article
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A February 2012 survey of almost 5,000 farmers across a region of the U.S. that produces more than half of the nation’s corn and soybean revealed that 66% of farmers believed climate change is occurring (8% mostly anthropogenic, 33% equally human and natural, 25% mostly natural), while 31% were uncertain and 3.5% did not believe that climate change...
Article
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Conservation Compliance, which since its inception in 1985 has led to substantial reductions in soil erosion by linking eligibility for some Farm Bill programs to erosion control on highly erodible land, is at a critical juncture. Agricultural economic and budget factors have reduced the effectiveness of compliance incentives, and numerous groups a...
Article
Arbuckle, Jr., J. Gordon, 2012. Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loans and Landowner Investments in Agricultural Best Management Practices in Iowa. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2012.00688.x Abstract: Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loan programs for water quality have traditional...
Article
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Nitrogen (N) is critical for maintaining crop yields; however, current agricultural management practices are major contributors to high levels of N and other agricultural chemicals leaking into neighboring water bodies thereby limiting the achievement of sustainability goals for water resources. Changes in farmer beliefs over time about sustainabil...