Minnesota is the only place that Vanessa has ever lived that she has wanted to stay long term. She enjoys biking, hiking, gardening, yoga, the robust Twin Cities craft beer scene, and local music. As time allows, Vanessa plays cello, mandolin, and violin at varying levels of proficiency, and has taken up running as a way to cope with Minnesota winters.
My master’s degree research focused on the conservation decision making of agricultural producers and landowners in the Red River Basin of Minnesota. Balancing agricultural production and water resource protection is a major challenge facing policy makers, resource managers, and agricultural producers across the U.S. In Minnesota, where both water and agriculture are fundamental to the state’s heritage, modern day identity, and economy, finding this balance has become a cornerstone issue for several state agencies and state-funded initiatives. Innovative agricultural conservation programs and policy solutions are needed that reduce existing constraints and capitalize on current drivers of conservation action.
Current decision making theory suggests that perceived behavioral control is an important factor in determining individual actions and outcomes. Even if a person wants to do something, and feels like others want them to do something, if they don’t feel like they are able to do that something, they won’t. Perceived control and ability to act can surpass personal values, attitudes, identities, and peer pressure in determining behavior. That said, the topic of perceived behavioral control has been explored less in the conservation decision making research. Given the findings from the research the Red River Basin, I propose that this is a topic that might be worth additional exploration.