United States Field Work

In the summer of 2017, I traveled to my hometown of Virginia, Ill., to interview farmers in the leading soybean production state. Over the course of 10 weeks we conducted 36 open-ended interviews in 32 counties. Interviews lasted roughly one hour and responses were recorded manually on printed questionnaires before being entered electronically within two hours of the interview.


The interviews addressed farm history, the influence of policy, and market uncertainty. Prior to data collection, researchers consulted with United States Department of Agricultural (USDA) technicians and county conservation board members to design and test the questionnaire. Interviewees were identified with the help of county USDA offices, conservation groups (e.g., Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Soil Health Partnership), commercial organizations (e.g., seed companies, grain merchandisers, agrochemical providers), farmer organizations (e.g., Farm Bureau) and through networks of participants.