Agricultural transitions in the context of growing environmental pressure over water

  • Gasteyer S
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Conventional agriculture, while nested in nature, has expanded production at the expense of water in the Midwest and through the diversion of water resources in the western United States. With the growth of population pres- sure and concern about water quality and quantity, demands are growing to alter the relationship of agriculture to water in both these locations. To illuminate the process of change in this relationship, the author builds on Buttel’s (Research in Rural Sociology and Development 6: 1–21, 1995) assertion that agriculture is transitioning to a post ‘‘green revolution’’ period where farmers are paid for conservation, and employs actor network theory (Latour and Woolgar Laboratory life: The construction of scientific facts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986) and the advocacy coalition frame- work (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith, Policy change and learning: An advocacy coalition approach, 1–56. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993) to frame discussions of water and agriculture in the upper Mississippi River watershed, particularly Iowa. The author concludes that contested views of agriculture and countryside, as well as differing views of how agriculture must change to adapt to growing water concerns, will shape coalitions that will ultimately play a significant role in shaping the future of agriculture.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Actor network theory
  • Advocacy coalition framework
  • Agricultural change
  • Agricultural policy
  • Conservation policy
  • Structure of agriculture
  • Water policy
  • Water quality and agriculture

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  • Stephen P. Gasteyer

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