Study Looks at Barriers to Conservation on Rented Land

A study by Purdue University and The Nature Conservancy explored barriers to implementing conservation practices on the roughly 39% of U.S. farmland that is rented. Through in-depth interviews, the researchers identified five types of barriers to conservation that existed in the landowner-farm operator relationship: barriers pertaining to cash-rent lease terms; barriers pertaining to the rental market dynamics; information deficit/asymmetry barriers; cognitive/interpersonal barriers; and barriers pertaining to NOL financial motivations. The Nature Conservancy is involved in work to design and test solutions to these barriers, beginning with better communication between landowners and operators who lease farms. One challenge is that while lease agreements are often year-to-year, conservation practices can take three to five years to implement fully.