Technologies to control the severity of soil erosion and water pollution are available, and a large institutional structure supports soil conservation work, but success has been rather limited. This study of a sample of farmers in the three watersheds in central Iowa tests a number of hypotheses about the use of conservation technology. Institutional support factors were found to have a stronger relationship to the use of conservation practices than farm operation characteristics. The erosion potential of the land was conditional for specific conservation practice utilization. The use of institutional resources was positively related to farm size and scale. Thus institutional supports seem to be going to larger farms where the need for conservation practices seems to be greatest, but may not be adequate to encourage the full extent of conservation practices required on the totality of farms.

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