Submitted to: Ohio State University Thesis
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2005
Publication Date: 9/16/2005
Citation: Tennity, C. 2005. A conjoint analysis study of perceived demand in central Ohio for specific agricultural natural resource conservation practices [Ph.D Thesis]. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University. 111 p. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: A provision in the 2002 Farm Bill called for the United States Department of Agriculture to work with various other federal agencies to validate the billions of dollars being funded through the USDA's conservation programs. This initiative has come to be known as the Conservation Effects Assessment Project or CEAP. One of the major components of the CEAP study is local watershed analysis. The Upper Big Walnut Watershed is one of the watersheds where the CEAP process is taking place, and is located just north of the city of Columbus, Ohio. The Upper Big Walnut is just one of many watersheds throughout the United States that is using an economic study to investigate the impacts of conservation programs. This study uses the non-market valuation technique of conjoint analysis to estimate the value that residents in the five county area surrounding the watershed place on certain environmental improvements. Using a mail survey sent to 1000 residents, the study assesses local willingness to pay (WTP) for conservation improvements through best management practices installed in the Upper Big Walnut Watershed. Various attitudinal and demographic characteristics of the respondents were also studied. This study estimates mean WTP for one additional ground bird or song bird seen on a two and half hour hike through the watershed to be $2.21 per bird, the value of one additional small stream in the watershed meeting EPA standards is $11.08 per stream, and the value of one additional clean drink of tap water out of every 100 uses is $2.80. These estimates of willingness to pay are further analyzed to show that the benefits exceed the costs for improving conservation in the Upper Big Walnut Watershed. This study also demonstrates that using public opinion of conservation improvements through the CEAP effort is a valid method to help the USDA justify Farm Bill funding for conservation programs.