Using and Improving Irrigation: Producer Perceptions and Possibilities
Type of Degreethesis
Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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Frost, drought, and other sources of crop stress may be reduced through irrigation. A random sample of Alabama crop, tree, and vegetable producers was surveyed about the nature and extent of irrigation practices and problems. The study assesses needs for technical assistance relative to irrigation use and improvement. Results profile farmers’ personal characteristics, irrigation practices, equipment, and water sources to identify barriers to adoption of improved irrigation. Findings suggest that being innovative encourages irrigation adoption, improvement, and expansion. Irrigation growth in information-transfer and collective learning may not have reached their potential for the Alabama farmer. Finding ways to support less innovative farmers may be vital to encourage greater irrigation use among those who need it most across Alabama. Financial circumstances influenced farmers’ decisions to irrigate in 2008. Cost-sharing and other financial incentives could be key parts of efforts to advance irrigation use in Alabama.