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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #443627

Research Project: Examining Producers’, Scientists’, and Regulators’ Perceptions of Water Use Impacts on Agricultural Production and the Environment

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-088-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 10, 2023
End Date: Aug 9, 2025

1. Identify the value specialty crop producers’ assign to environmental stewardship including how they feel about being heavy freshwater users and perceptions of how their use of water (including involved contaminants and pollutants) impact agricultural production and the natural environment to determine best strategies for communicating with producers about water management. 2. Determine if scientists’ perceptions of specialty crop producers’ use of water, including associated contaminants, pollutants and levels of environmental stewardship align with those expressed by growers to identify gaps between the two groups and develop strategies which encourage two-way communication between producers and the scientific community. 3. Identify regulators’ perceptions of specialty crop growers’ environmental stewardship and water use, including associated contaminants and pollutants, as it relates to policy impacting specialty crop production and compare it to producers’ and scientists’ perceptions to improve communication between the three groups and develop strategies that assist in the development of science-informed policy associated with specialty crop producers’ water use.

This project brings together the expertise of USDA-ARS research scientists with cooperators at other universities to focus on research that explores the human dimension of water use. The project is a science-based, outcome-driven, and environmentally motivated. The findings will further our knowledge base by: 1) ensuring the human dimension is integrated into environmental stewardship projects related to water use thereby improving decision-making, 2) ensure specialty crop producers’ awareness of contaminants and pollutants is improved through strategic communication 3) motivate the scientific community to work collaboratively with growers to identify and mitigate contaminants and pollutants thereby improving environmental sustainability, and 4) develop novel strategies for ensuring regulators, scientists and producers are working collaboratively in the development and enforcement of regulation impacting contaminant and pollutant release into the natural environment. This project integrates the mission and expertise of the Application Technology Research Unit with other researchers in disciplines critical to the overall success of the project.