JEP  Vol.11 No.4 , April 2020
Determinants of Households’ Adoption of Organic Pesticides for Lawns and Gardens
Abstract: This study investigates organic pesticide adoption in residential lawn care management, incorporating determinants based on a synthesis of multiple literatures. A mail survey using the Dillman method was conducted in Missouri in 2014 with a random sample of 2000 single-family households (44.1% effective response rate). The data indicate an adoption rate of 17.7% for organic pesticides. This unique dataset also allows us to differentiate distinct non-adopters by familiarity with the practice as well as non-use of any pesticides. Multinomial logit regressions find environmental concerns, awareness of neighbor’s opinions, and gardening behaviors as significant determinants. The effects on relative probability of being an adopter are large: 18 times more likely for people with serious environmental concerns or 5 times more likely for those spending more than 15 hours per month on lawn care.
Cite this paper: Tran, L. , McCann, L. and Shin, D. (2020) Determinants of Households’ Adoption of Organic Pesticides for Lawns and Gardens. Journal of Environmental Protection, 11, 269-298. doi: 10.4236/jep.2020.114016.

[1]   Cohen, P. (2018) National Gardening Survey, 2018 Edition.

[2]   Adwood, D. and Paisley-Jones, C. (2017) Pesticides Industry Sales and Usage 2008-2012: Market Estimates. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.

[3]   Robbins P. and Sharp J. (2003) The Lawn-Chemical Economy and Its Discontents. Antipode, 35, 955-979.

[4]   Marshall, S., Orr, D., Bradley, L. and Moorman, C. (2015) A Review of Organic Lawn Care Practices and Policies in North America and the Implications of Lawn Plant Diversity and Insect Pest Management. HortTechnology, 25, 437-446.

[5]   Bahlai, C.A., Xue, Y., McCreary, C.M., Schaafsma, A.W. and Hallett, R.H. (2010) Choosing Organic Pesticides over Synthetic Pesticides May Not Effectively Mitigate Environmental Risk in Soybeans. PLoS ONE, 5, e11250.

[6]   Alumai, A., Salminen, S.O., Richmond D.S., Cardina, J. and Grewal, P.S. (2009) Comparative Evaluation of Aesthetic, Biological, and Economic Effectiveness of Different Lawn Management Programs. Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, Berlin.

[7]   Levy, N. (2018) Louisiana Urban and Suburban Homeowners’ Fertilizer Management Behavioral Beliefs, Intentions, and Past Behaviors. LSU Doctoral Dissertations, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 4687.

[8]   Prokopy, L.S., Floress, K., Klotthor-Weinkauf, D. and Baumgart-Getz, A. (2008) Determinants of Agricultural Best Management Practice Adoption: Evidence from the Literature. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 63, 300-311.

[9]   Ellis, W.B. and Bradley, M.F. (1996) The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control. Rodale Press, Inc., New York.

[10]   Asif, M., Xuhui, W., Nasiri, A. and Ayyub, S. (2018) Determinant Factors Influencing Organic Food Purchase Intention and the Moderating Role of Awareness: A Comparative Analysis. Food Quality Preference, 63, 144-150.

[11]   Janssen, M. (2018) Determinants of Organic Food Purchases: Evidence from Household Panel Data. Food Quality and Preference, 68, 19-28.

[12]   Li, J., Zepeda, L. and Gould, B.W. (2007) The Demand for Organic Food in the U.S.: An Empirical Assessment. Journal of Food Distribution Research, 38, 54-69.

[13]   Boccaletti, S. and Nardella, M. (2000) Consumer Willingness to Pay for Pesticide-Free Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in Italy. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 3, 297-310.

[14]   Bond, C.A., Thilmany, D. and Bond, J.K. (2000) What to Choose? The Value of Label Claims to Fresh Produce Consumers. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 33, 402-427.

[15]   Saba, A. and Messina, F. (2003) Attitudes towards Organic Foods and Risk/Benefit Perception Associated with Pesticides. Food Quality and Preference, 14, 637-645.

[16]   Schaufele, I., Pashkova, D. and Hamm, U. (2018) Which Consumers Opt for Organic Wine and Why? An Analysis of the Attitude-Behaviour Link. British Food Journal, 120, 1901-1914.

[17]   Van Doorn, J. and Verhoef, P.C. (2015) Drivers of and Barriers to Organic Purchase Behavior. Journal of Retailing, 91, 436-450.

[18]   Baumgart-Getz, A., Prokopy, L.S. and Floress, K. (2012) Why Farmers Adopt Best Management Practice in the United States: A Meta-Analysis of the Adoption Literature. Journal Environmental Management, 96, 17-25.

[19]   Bach, D. and Rosner, H. (2008) Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying. Broadway Books, New York.

[20]   Laferriere, K.A., Crighton, E.J., Baxter, J., Lemyre, L., Masuda, J.R. and Ursitti, F. (2016) Examining Inequities in Children’s Environmental Health: Results of a Survey on the Risk Perceptions and Protective Actions of New Mothers. Journal of Risk Research, 19, 271-287.

[21]   Larson, J.L., Dale, A., Held, D., McGraw, B., Richmond, D.S., Wickings, K. and Williamson, R.C. (2017) Optimizing Pest Management Practices to Conserve Pollinators in Turf Landscapes: Current Practices and Future Research Needs. Journal of Integrated Pest Management, 8, No. 1.

[22]   McCann, L. and Shin, D.W. (2018) Household Use of Composted Manure and Phosphorous-Free Fertilizers: Feeling Good versus Doing Good. Journal of Environmental Protection, 9, 140-157.

[23]   Morris, J. and Bagby, J. (2008) Measuring Environmental Value for Natural Lawn and Garden Care Practices. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 13, 226-234.

[24]   Tukey, P. (2007) The Organic Lawn Care Manual: A Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn. Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA.

[25]   Winterich, K.P., Mittal, V. and William, T.R. (2009) Donation Behavior toward in Groups and Out-Groups: The Role of Gender and Moral Identity. Journal of Consumer Research, 36, 199-214.

[26]   Veldstra, M.D., Alexander, C.E. and Marshall, M.I. (2014) To Certify or Not to Certify? Separating the Organic Production and Certification Decisions. Food Policy, 49, 429-436.

[27]   Shashi, A.A., Kottala, S.Y. and Singh, R. (2015) A Review of Sustainability, Deterrents, Personal Values, Attitudes and Purchase Intentions in the Organic Food Supply Chain. Pacific Science Review B: Humanities and Social Sciences, 1, 114-123.

[28]   Blaine, T.W., Clayton, S., Robbins, P. and Parwinder, G.S. (2012) Homeowner Attitudes and Practices Towards Residential Landscape Management in Ohio, USA. Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, New York.

[29]   Dettmann, R.L. and Dimitri, C. (2009) Who’s Buying Organic Vegetables? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Consumers. Journal of Food Products Marketing, 16, 79-91.

[30]   Yadav, R. and Pathak, G. (2016) Young Consumers’ Intention towards Buying Green Products in a Developing Nation: Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior. Journal of Cleaner Production, 135, 732-739.

[31]   Brehm, J.M., Pasko, D.K. and Eisenhauer B.W. (2013) Identifying Key Factors in Homeowner’s Adoption of Water Quality Best Management Practices. Environmental Management, 52, 113-122.

[32]   Ngobo, P. (2011) What Drives Household Choice of Organic Products in Grocery Stores? Journal of Retailing, 87, 90-100.

[33]   Genius, M., Tzouvelekas, V. and Pantzios, C. (2006) Information Acquisition and Adoption of Organic Farming Practices. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 31, 1-21.

[34]   Dreezens, E., Martijin, C., Tenbult, P., Kok, G. and Vries, N.K. (2005) Food and Values: An Examination of Values Underlying Attitudes toward Genetically Modified and Organically Grown Food Products. Appetite, 44, 115-122.

[35]   Magnusson, M. (2001) Attitudes towards Organic Foods among Swedish Consumers. British Food Journal, 103, 209-226.

[36]   Lea, E. and Worsley, T. (2005) Australians’ Organic Food Beliefs, Demographics and Values. British Food Journal, 107, 855-869.

[37]   Vermeir, I. and Verbeke, W.J. (2006) Sustainable Food Consumption: Exploring the Consumer “Attitude-Behavioral Intention” Gap. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 19, 169-194.

[38]   Moser, K. (2016) Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions Regarding Environmentally Friendly Products: An Empirical Analysis of German Consumers. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 31, 389-397.

[39]   Hughner, R.S., McDonagh, P., Prothero, A., Shultz, C.J. and Stanton, J. (2007) Who Are Organic Food Consumers? A Compilation and Review of Why People Purchase Organic Food. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 6, 94-110.

[40]   Reimer, A.P. and Prokopy, L.S. (2012) Environmental Attitudes and Drift Reduction Behavior among Commercial Pesticide Applicators in a U.S. Agricultural Landscape. Egyptian Journal of Environmental Management, 113, 361-369.

[41]   Riar, A., Mandloi, L.S., Poswal, R.S., Messmer, M.M. and Bhullar, G.S. (2017) A Diagnosis of Biophysical and Socio-Economic Factors Influencing Farmers’ Choice to Adopt Organic or Conventional Farming Systems for Cotton Production. Frontiers in plant. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8, 1289.

[42]   Beedell, J. and Rehman, T. (2000) Using Social-Psychology Models to Understand Farmers’ Conservation Behavior. Journal of Rural Studies, 16, 117-127.

[43]   Grob, A. (1995) A Structural Model of Environmental Attitudes and Behaviour. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15, 209-220.

[44]   Jin, S., Bluemling, B. and Mol, A. (2015) Information, Trust and Pesticide Overuse: Interactions between Retailers and Cotton Farmers in China. Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 72, 23-32.

[45]   Philbert, A., Lyantagaye, S. and Nkwengulila, G. (2014) A Review of Agricultural Pesticides Use and the Selection for Resistance to Insecticides in Malaria Vectors. Advances in Entomology, 2, 120-128.

[46]   Makatouni, A. (2002) What Motivates Consumers to Buy Organic Food in UK? Results from a Qualitative Study. British Food Journal, 104, 345-352.

[47]   Padel, S. and Foster, C. (2005) Exploring the Gap between Attitudes and Behavior: Understanding Why Consumers Buy or Do Not Buy Organic Food. British Food Journal, 107, 606-625.

[48]   Singh, Y., Singh, B., Pabbi, S. and Singh, P.K. (2007) Impact of Organic Farming on Yield and Quality of BASMATI Rice and Soil Properties. Scientific Conference on Organic Agriculture, 20, 129-138.

[49]   USGS (2000) The United States Geological Survey Report, 1999. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC.

[50]   Davis, J.R., Brownson, R.C. and Garcia, R. (1992) Family Pesticide Use in the Home, Garden, Orchard, and Yard. Environment Contamination Toxicology, 22, 260-266.

[51]   Boizot-Szantai, C., Hamza, O. and Soler, L.G. (2017) Organic Consumption and Diet Choice: An Analysis Based on Food Purchase Data in France. Appetite, 117, 17-28.

[52]   Radman, M. (2005) Consumer Consumption and Perception of Organic Products in Croatia. British Food Journal, 107, 263-273.

[53]   Gomiero, T. (2018) Food Quality Assessment in Organic vs. Conventional Agricultural Produce: Findings and Issues. Applied Soil Ecology, 123, 714-728.

[54]   Baker, S., Thompson, K. and Engelken, J. (2004) Mapping the Values Driving Organic Food Choice. European Journal of Marketing, 38, 995-1012.

[55]   Huang, C. (1996) Consumer Preferences and Attitudes towards Organically Grown Produce. European Review of Agricultural Economics, 23, 331-342.

[56]   Lockie, S., Lyons, K., Lawrence, G. and Mummery, K. (2002) Eating Green: Motivations behind Organic Food Consumption in Australia. European Society for Rural Sociology, 41, 23-40.

[57]   Meehan, T.D., Werling, B.P., Landis, D.A. and Gratton, C. (2011) Agricultural Landscape Simplification and Insecticide Use in the Midwestern United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108, 11500-11505.

[58]   Nassauer, J.I., Wang, Z. and Dayrell, E. (2009) What Will the Neighbors Think? Cultural Norms and Ecological Design. Landscape and Urban Planning, 9, 282-292.

[59]   Gudade, B.A., Chhetri, P., Gupta, U., Deka, T.N., Vijayan, A.K. and Bhattarai, N.K. (2014) The Study of Ecofriendly Practices of Large Cardamom Cultivation in Sikkim and Darjeeling. Ecology, Environment and Conservation, 20, 119-123.

[60]   Jolly, D. (1991) Differences between Buyers and Non-Buyers Of Organic Produce and Willingness to Pay Organic Price Premiums. Journal of Agribusiness, 9, 1-15.

[61]   Greene, C. and Kremen, A. (2003) US Organic Farming in 2000-2001: Adoption of Certified Systems. United States Department of Agriculture, Washington DC.

[62]   Constance, D.H. and Choi, J.Y. (2010) Overcoming the Barriers to Organic Adoption in the United States: A Look at Pragmatic Conventional Producers in Texas. Sustainability, 2, 163-188.

[63]   Templeton, S., Yoo, S. and Zilberman, D. (1999) An Economic Analysis of Yard Care and Synthetic Chemical Use: The Case of San Francisco. Environmental and Resource Economics, 14, 385-397.

[64]   Rogers, E. (2010) Diffusion of Innovations. 5th Edition, Simon and Schuster, New York.

[65]   Straub, E. (2009) Understanding Technology Adoption: Theory and Future Directions for Informal Learning. Review of Educational Research, 79, 625-649.

[66]   McFadden, D. (1974) Conditional Logit Analysis of Qualitative Choice Behavior. In: Frontiers in Econometric, Academic Press, New York, 105-142.

[67]   Luce, R. (1959) Individual Choice Behaviour: A Theoretical Analysis. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

[68]   McFadden, D. and Train, K. (2000) Mixed MNL Models for Discrete Response. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 15, 447-470.<447::AID-JAE570>3.0.CO;2-1

[69]   Small, K.A. and Rosen, H.S. (1981) Applied Welfare Economics with Discrete Choice Models. Econometrica, 49, 105-130.

[70]   Ben-Akiva, M.E. and Lerman, S.R. (1985) Discrete Choice Analysis: Theory and Application to Travel Demand. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

[71]   McFadden, D. (1981) Econometric Models of Probabilistic Choice. In: Structural Analysis of Discrete Data: With Econometric Applications, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 198-272.

[72]   Lichtenberg, E. (2004) Cost-Responsiveness of Conservation Practice Adoption: A Revealed Preference Approach. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 29, 420-435.

[73]   Shin, D.W. and McCann, L. (2018) Enhancing Adoption Studies: The Case of Residential Stormwater Management Practices in the Midwest. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 47, 32-65.