Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Environmental Sciences and Management


Natural Resources Management


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Nicholas Babin

Advisor Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Farming practices will require changes to reduce crop sensitivity to climate change, which is projected to cause extreme heat events, variable precipitation, extended periods of drought, and increasing presence of pest and disease. Conservation agricultural practices build farm resiliency to climate impacts by improving soil health, reducing erosion and sediment runoff, and improving water infiltration. Literature on the adoption of conservation agriculture practices find no universal factors that indicate adoption of practices but suggest that the adoption of practices can be better understood by investigating practices specific variables and farm level characteristics and their implications on adoption. Our objective is to gain insight into the experiences with three conservation practices: cover crops, conservational tillage and set aside lands. Semi-structured interviews with wine producers and advisors from the Paso Robles AVA in California were conducted and analyzed to identify variables affecting adoption, these variables were then quantified to assess the prevalence of this variables amongst this sample. Cover crops was acknowledged to have more observable benefits than conservation tillage and set aside lands, the most notable benefits of cover crops experienced by producers were improvement to soil health and reduction of erosion. Producers who had not adopted conservation tillage experience suggested the practice was incompatible with their soil structure and soil needs. There was little awareness on the benefits and barriers to set aside lands, suggesting more information is needed about this practice. The results of this research will be used to inform a survey that will quantify the barriers and opportunities to adoption to these conservation practices experienced by producers in the Central Coast of California.