Farmer Attitudes Toward Cooperative Approaches to Herbicide Resistance Management: A Common Pool Ecosystem Service Challenge

David E. Ervin, Elise H. Breshears, George B. Frisvold, Terrance Hurley, Katherine E. Dentzman, Jeffrey L. Gunsolus, Raymond A. Jussaume, Micheal D.K. Owen, Jason K. Norsworthy, Mustofa Mahmud Al Mamun, Wesley Everman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Dramatic growth in herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds in the United States threatens farm profitability and may undercut environmentally beneficial farming practices. When HR weeds move across farm boundaries due to ecological processes or human action, a common pool resource challenge emerges, requiring farmer cooperation to manage such weeds effectively. We investigate the scope for cooperative management using responses to a national survey on HR weed issues to test a recursive model of three preconditions for collective action: (1) concern about HR weeds migrating from nearby lands; (2) communication with neighbors about HR weeds; and (3) belief that cooperation is necessary for effective resistance management. Results suggest that farmers who relied more on Extension educators regarding weed management, were more likely to satisfy each precondition. Further, concern about weeds resistant to multiple herbicides as well as concern about HR weed mobility positively influence concern about migration and views toward cooperation. Farmer time constraints and “techno-optimism” (a belief that herbicide discoveries will solve resistance problems) detract from the perceived need for cooperative approaches. A different set of factors significantly affect each precondition, suggesting heterogeneity in the underlying casual mechanisms. The findings can help tailor collective action to different socio-ecological settings experiencing HR weed resistance issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Economics
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Common pool resources
  • Cooperation
  • Extension
  • Herbicide resistance
  • Techno-optimism
  • Time constraints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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