Do farmers need to be paid to grow milkweed for monarchs or will they volunteer if it is easy enough?

Tiesta Thakur, Terrance Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A decline in the monarch butterfly population led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to acknowledge monarchs should be listed under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. This research evaluates farmer interest in restoring monarch habitat on their non-cropped acres to help circumvent such a listing. Results suggest that efforts to promote habitat restoration on non-cropped acres should focus on voluntary participation and make programs as easy as possible through design and technical assistance. The results also suggest that even a successful program can only provide a small fraction of the habitat needed to meet current restoration goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1024
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Janet Hou and Burleson Smith for help shaping the research question; Seth Applegate for help designing materials for farmer focus groups and the research's survey instrument; Grace Garbini for collecting information on both public and private conservation programs that informed the survey; and Jerry Clark, Jared Goplen, Gregg Johnson, and Paul Mitchell for organizing farmer focus groups in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The authors thank BASF Corporation for financially supporting the research through the grant “Farmer Perceptions of the Living Acres Initiative & the Cultivation of ‘Beneficial Weeds’.” BASF Corporation asserts no right to make publication decisions or prepublication review of manuscripts resulting from the project as a condition of the award. The authors also appreciate the financial support of the Minnesota State Agricultural Experiment Station (Projects: MIN‐14‐134 and MIN‐14‐120). The focus groups and surveys conducted for this research were reviewed and approved by the University of Minnesota's Institutional Review Board (IRB ID: STUDY00000362). 1

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.


  • conservation programs
  • crowding out
  • habitat restoration
  • intrinsic motivations
  • monarch butterfly
  • voluntary


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