5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Kumudu Kopiyawattage
Session Name Poster Session - Policy & Behavior Change
Poster Number 27
Author(s) Kumudu Kopiyawattage,  Graduate Student (Presenting Author)
  Alexa Lamm,  Assistant Professor
  Public Perception and Willingness to Pay for Agricultural Best Management Practices
  Cost effective and practical actions that could be taken by agricultural producers to minimize pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, and animal waste from entering water resources are called agricultural best Management Practices (BMPs). BMPs are important for maintaining and improving water quality over time. The purpose of this study was to identify Florida residents’ perception and awareness of agricultural BMPs and their willingness to pay for products produced while engaging in BMPs. Non-probability opt-in sampling techniques were used to collect data and an online survey was distributed to Florida residents. A response rate of 26% was obtained with 524 (N = 524) responses. Based on the associated importance of implementing BMPs in Florida, respondents were categorized into ‘high’, ‘average’ and ‘low’ groups and their willingness to buy and pay more for products that are raised by BMP were examined. First, the respondents were asked about their awareness of BMPs implemented by farmers. The majority (81%) stated that they are unaware of BMPs. Despite this lack of awareness, 59%, 56%, 59% and 57% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that farmers in Florida practice proper nutrient/fertilizer, pest, water and animal waste management practices respectively. When the respondents were asked whether they would like to buy products from a farmer that they know uses BMPs, 93% indicated they would. In addition, 73% stated they were willing to pay more for products that were grown or raised by farmers using BMP. Results of this study revealed that respondents are not aware of the BMPs practiced by farmers in Florida even though they are willing to pay more for products produced using BMPs. Extension programs should be developed to create awareness of agricultural BMPs, both those practiced and campaigns around products resulting from BMP engagement.