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Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 6644-6665; doi:10.3390/su6106644

The Impact of Agricultural Extension on Farmer Nutrient Management Behavior in Chinese Rice Production: A Household-Level Analysis

Institute of Poyang Lake Eco-economics, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
Received: 13 August 2014 / Revised: 16 September 2014 / Accepted: 18 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Abstract

Agricultural nutrients play a critical role in food production and human nutrition in China. Against this backdrop, agricultural extension services are essential for providing farmers with knowledge and information about nutrient management. By using a propensity score-matching (PSM) approach, this study examines the impact of agricultural extension on farmer nutrient management behavior. Survey data about rice farmers in seven provinces of rural China are used. The empirical results indicate that participation in agricultural extension has a positive impact on rationalizing farmer nutrient management behavior. However, this impact is trivial. Compared with non-participating farmers, the reduced ratio of total fertilizer use and total inorganic fertilizer use by participating farmers is only 1.7% to 3.7%, and the improved ratio of the total organic fertilizer use and the level of soil-testing-based fertilizer use by participating farmers is only 1.008% to 1.173%. Additionally, the causal impacts of agricultural extension participation on nutrient management behavior tend to be higher for more educated, risk-loving and larger-scale farmers. This study reveals that China faces great challenges in implementing improved nutrient management practices for hundreds of millions of farmers through extension services. The findings also have important implications for China’s extension system to meet the objectives of improving nutrient management. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural extension; nutrient management; propensity score matching; China; rice production agricultural extension; nutrient management; propensity score matching; China; rice production
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pan, D. The Impact of Agricultural Extension on Farmer Nutrient Management Behavior in Chinese Rice Production: A Household-Level Analysis. Sustainability 2014, 6, 6644-6665.

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