Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type





Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Angelos Pagoulatos

Second Advisor

Dr. Wuyang Hu


The purpose of this study is to review existing literature of factors that influence farmers’ decision to participate in conservation programs. This study is also intended to collect county data and information on conservation programs and participation in the Kentucky River watershed region, which can be analyzed and used to draw differences in characteristics of the region that would suggest willingness to participate in a trading scheme for improvements in water quality.

The results suggest that more participation in a trading scheme from some counties than others should be expected. Counties with more farms and larger farms will probably have higher rates of participation in conservation programs.

The cost-share amounts being paid by current government programs must be considered as the minimum staring point to negotiate in a trading scheme. To target the impact of watersheds, such as the Kentucky River in the Mississippi system, that discharges significant amounts of pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico, policy makers and program administrators should be advising and stimulating the adoption of practices with the best abatement performance for such pollutants considering technical complementarity between practices.