The Relationship Between Living in a Rural Community and Support for Agricultural Runoff Policy in the Great Lakes Region

April 2021
Sophie Tzavaras

In the past few years, the Great Lakes have experienced an increase in harmful algal blooms in large part due to agricultural runoff and results in increased levels of toxins in the water putting the drinking supply at risk. The current policies are fairly relaxed but there is movement towards developing policies directed more at farmers and farming practices to mitigate runoff. While past studies have looked at factors such as political party to see the influence on policy support, there has not been much research investigating how the location where someone resides impacts their support. Using statistical analysis of survey data of people in the Great Lakes region, this paper aims to understand if people in rural areas are more likely to oppose agricultural runoff policy compared to those in non-rural areas. The results of this paper find that living in a rural area does not affect whether or not a person will support runoff policy. The finding of this paper indicates that policymakers may wish to further investigate how being a farmer changes support for agricultural runoff policy to provide a clearer picture of support.