Horticultural Producers' Willingness to Adopt Water Recycling Technology in the Mid-Atlantic Region

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Virginia Tech

Water-recycling technologies have been developed to reduce water consumption and surface runoff in horticultural operations. However, WRT may increase risk of disease from water-borne pathogens such as Pythium and Phytophthora. More information is needed about producers' management practices and attitudes regarding irrigation runoff containment and recycling. A mail survey was administered in February 2013 to horticultural nursery growers in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Collected were respondents' demographic characteristics plus irrigation and disease management practices. The survey incorporated a choice experiment quantifying willingness to adopt water recycling given hypothetical disease outbreak, water shortage probabilities, and percentage cost increases via a conditional logit model. Two hundred and sixty respondents provide valuable insight into horticultural production in the Mid-Atlantic region. We were unable to calculate the implicit price of water or disease for adoption because the sample of 91 respondents for the choice experiment yielded a flat distribution of operations ranging in $100 to $7 million in nursery cost. However, findings did support the hypothesis that producers will be more likely to adopt selected WRT when cost decreases, probability of disease decreases. Only 33% chose to adopt. Cost is the biggest factor as the majority of producers are not equipped to handle water recycling or capture and would go out of business due to the expense. Disease is also significant factor inhibiting growers from adopting. Until mandatory environmental regulations in place to force producers to contain runoff, or until incentivized cost sharing programs are implemented, wide spread adoption of water recycling technologies is unlikely to occur.

Choice experiment, conditional logit, green industry, horticulture, nursery, survey, technology adoption