Farmers' willingness to pay for groundwater protection

Erik Lichtenberg, Rae Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effectiveness of current groundwater protection policies depends largely on farmers' voluntary compliance with leaching reduction measures, an important component of which is their willingness to adopt costlier production practices in order to prevent leaching of chemicals. Data from an original survey of 1611 corn and soybean growers in the mid-Atlantic region were used to estimate farmers' willingness to pay to prevent leaching of pesticides into groundwater. The results indicate that farmers are willing to pay more for leaching prevention than nonfarm groundwater consumers, both absolutely and relative to total income. The primary motivation appears to be concern for overall environmental quality rather than protection of drinking water or the health and safety of themselves and their families. Hobby farmers are willing to pay more than farmers with commercial activity. Certified pesticide applicators are willing to pay less than farmers without certification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-841
Number of pages9
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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