The Northern Plains is a region in central North America where the more humid and fertile prairies of the Midwest transition to the arid and mountainous American West. The point “where the West begins” has captured the imagination of many writers, artists, and sociologists, who have noted that cultural attributes of the residents change along with important divisions in soil composition, flora, fauna, precipitation, and air moisture. However, the degree to which cultural attributes change along with these biophysical characteristics has not received close empirical scrutiny. Agricultural producers are uniquely tied to the landscape, and identifying the values and practices employed by these producers sheds light on how various climatic and physical features shape attitudes toward the environment, the community, and land-use practices. A mail survey (N = 517) to agricultural producers across three Northern Plains states analyzes how environmental attitudes, place attachment, and supplementary land-use preferences to agricultural activity are related to geographic, biophysical, and sociodemographic characteristics associated with the transition zone. Additionally, this study contributes to the literature regarding sociocultural differences between the American West and Midwest, acknowledges weaknesses in this approach, and offer suggestions for future research.


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pp. 155-172
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