Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gallaher, Courtney M.

Second Advisor

Konen, Michael E.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment


The benefits of cover crops are widely recognized by those interested in conservation agriculture and soil health. These benefits include soil erosion control, nutrient loss reduction, and overall improvement of soil health. However, while these benefits are well-documented, the adoption rate of cover crops in the American Heartland remains astoundingly low. While some studies have attempted to determine the reasons for this low adoption rate, the information relating to how farmer perceptions of soil health impact cover crop adoption is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, there is a clear absence of mixed method studies in the literature relating to this subject. This study takes an alternative approach by focusing on the relationship of soil health perceptions to cover crop adoption, and by utilizing both qualitative and quantitative data. This study analyzed in-depth interview data from grain farmers throughout the Heartland that centered on land management, and specifically the relationship of soil health to cover crop adoption. Additionally, the study analyzed quantitative soil health data in conjunction with the interview data to provide more substantiated conclusions.


98 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type