Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith

Douglas Jackson-Smith
Professor of Water Security
120A Williams Hall. 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691


Curriculum Vitae

ResearchGate profile

USU profile



Born in Boston, I grew up in Utah before doing my undergraduate work in California (Deep Springs College) and New York (Cornell). My three graduate degrees are all from the University of Wisconsin – a MS in Rural Sociology, MA in Agricultural Economics, and PhD in Sociology. I worked and did research in Nepal and Indonesia in the 1980s, and have raised sheep, chickens and livestock guard dogs since the early 1990s.

I moved to Ohio State in August 2016 after spending the last 15 years as a faculty member in the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology at Utah State University. Prior to that, I served as Co-Director of the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies (and faculty member with a joint appointment in Sociology and Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

My office and work team are based at the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center (OARDC) – OSU’s large agricultural research station based in Wooster, Ohio (90 miles northeast of Columbus, in the heart of Amish country).  There is a growing group of SENR faculty, graduate students, and post-docs based at the OARDC working on interdisciplinary and engaged scholarship and outreach related to social and environmental aspects of complex working landscapes. While my research and home are in Wooster, I regularly come to the Columbus campus to teach and meet with faculty, students, and colleagues.


I am broadly trained as a sociologist, with significant background in geography, economics, political science, and anthropology. I believe deeply in the value of using social science theory and mixed methods to address pressing problems in the United States and abroad. Throughout my career, I have sought to balance the importance of structural determinants of social outcomes with the notion that individual and collective actors have significant agency in determining their choices and behaviors. My work has spanned multiple, overlapping scales to better understand the relative contributions of individual, household, community, institutional, and national/global drivers of farm structural change, land use transformations, and environmentally-relevant behaviors.

I utilize a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data in my research, including extensive use of secondary data, mail and internet surveys, key informant interviews, and focus groups).  I have published research using multivariate statistical modeling as well as structured iterative analysis of qualitative data. I am particularly interested in finding ways to use geospatial technology and data to explore ways to integrate spatial processes and outcomes into my work.
Nearly all of my research is deeply collaborative and interdisciplinary, and my published work is targeted at journals and audiences across both social science and environmental science disciplines and outlets. I am increasingly interested in participatory and engaged models of scholarship, and seek opportunities to integrate the voices and experiences of farmers, citizens, and stakeholders in the design and use of scientific research.

Active Research Projects

Most of my active research program is focused on topics related to agriculture, water, and the dynamics of working landscapes. My currently active research projects include work designed to:

  • Explore the dynamics and impacts of participatory and on-farm research methods on farmer understanding, ownership, and trust in science on environmental problems.
  • Integrate human dimensions into studies of coupled urban water systems – gather social science data at multiple scales to demonstrate how different configurations of social, built, and natural environments shape water outcomes.
  • Improve the representation of human behaviors in watershed-scale environmental models by gathering systematic social science data and using it to inform specification of the behaviors of humans in complex coupled models.
  • Explore the role of social and institutional factors in the use (of non-use) of different type of ‘green’ stormwater infrastructure – a collaboration with engineers, hydrologists, and ecologists to engage with key stakeholders to model alternative approaches to water reuse and managed aquifer recharge.


Having recently moved to Ohio State, I have yet to build a large portfolio of courses. However, I will be teaching a seminar on ENR 8897: Research Design/Proposals in Spring 2017 and am hoping to develop courses in the Sociology of Food and Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture Systems, and Water and Society in the coming years.
In my previous faculty roles at Utah State University and the University of Wisconsin, I taught the following courses:

  • Rural Sociology (undergraduate)
  • Sustainability in Food, Land and Water (undergraduate)
  • Social Statistics (undergraduate)
  • Natural Resources and Social Development (graduate)
  • Environmental Sociology (graduate)
  • Rural and Agricultural Planning (graduate)
  • Research Methods (graduate)
  • Research Design (graduate)



National Research Council. 2010. Authors: Kornegay, J.L., R.R. Harwood, S.S. Batie, D. Bucks, C.B. Flora, J. Hanson, D. Jackson-Smith, W. Jury, D. Meyer, J.P. Reganold, A. Schumacher, Jr. H. Sehmsdorf, C. Shennan, L.A. Thrupp, and P. Willis. Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. 2015.  Authors: Nesheim, M.C., K. Clancy, J.K. Hammitt, R.A. Hammond, D.L. Haver, D. Jackson-Smith, R.S. Johnson, J.D. Kinsey, S.M. Krebs-Smith, M. Liebman, F. Mitloehner, K.M. Pollack, P.J. Stover, K.M.J. Swanson, and S.M. Swinton. A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Refereed Journal Articles

Jackson-Smith, D., C. Flint, M. Dolan, C. Trentelman, G. Holyoak, and B. Thomas. “Effectiveness of the Drop-Off/Pick-Up Method in Different Neighborhood Types.” (Forthcoming) Journal of Rural Social Sciences.

Flint CG, X Dai, D. Jackson-Smith, J Endter-Wada, SK Yeo, R Hale, MK Dolan. (forthcoming) “Social and geographic contexts of water concerns in Utah.” Society & Natural Resources.

Jackson-Smith, D., P.A. Stoker, M. Buchert, J. Endter-Wada, C. Licon, M. Cannon, S. Li, Z. Bjerregaard, and L. Bell. 2016 "Differentiating Urban Forms: A Neighborhood Typology for Understanding Urban Water Systems," Cities and the Environment (CATE): Vol. 9: Iss. 1, Article 5. Http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol9/iss1/5

Ellis, C., G. Theodori, P. Petrzelka, D. Jackson-Smith, and A. Luloff. 2016. “Unconventional Risks: The Experience of Acute Energy Development in the Eagle Ford Shale.” Energy Research & Social Science20: 91-98. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2016.05.006

Jones, A.S., J. Horsburgh, D. Jackson-Smith, M. Ramirez, and C.G. Flint. 2016. “A web-based, interactive visualization tool for social environmental survey data.” Environmental Modeling and Software 84:412-426. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.07.013

Hale, R.L., A. Armstrong, M.A. Baker, S. Bedingfield, D. Betts, C. Buahin, M. Buchert, T. Crowl, R.R. Dupont, J.R. Ehleringer, J. Endter-Wada, C. Flint, J. Grant, S. Hinners, J.S. Horsburgh, D. Jackson-Smith, A.S. Jones, C. Licon, S.E. Null, A. Odame, D.E. Pataki, D. Rosenberg, M. Runburg, P. Stoker, C. Strong. 2015. “iSAW: Integrating Structure, Actors, and Water to Study Socio-Hydro-Ecological Systems.” Earth’s FutureVol 3. Published online March 9. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2014EF000295.

Clark, J., S. Inwood, and D. Jackson-Smith. 2014. “Exurban Farmers' Perceptions of Land Use Policy Effectiveness: Implications for the Next Generation of Policy Development.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development. 5(1): 39-55. https://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2014.051.001 .

Reimer, A., A. Thompson, L.S. Prokopy, J.G. Arbuckle, K. Genskow, D. Jackson-Smith, G. Lynne, L. McCann, L. Wright Morton, and P. Nowak. 2014. “People, place, behavior and context: A research agenda for expanding our understanding of what motivates farmers’ conservation behaviors.” Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 69(2): 57A-61A. https://dx.doi.org/10.2489/jswc.69.2.57A

Armstrong, A. and D. Jackson-Smith. 2013.  “Forms and levels of integration: An evaluation of an interdisciplinary team building project.” Journal of Research Practice 9(1), Article M1. Retrieved from http://www.jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/335/297

Sharp, Jeff., D. Jackson-Smith, and Leah Smith. 2011. “Agricultural economic development at the rural-urban interface: Community organization, policy and agricultural change,” The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development 1(4): 189-204. doi:10.5304/jafscd.2011.014.002

Reganold, J.P., D. Jackson-Smith, S.S. Batie, R.R. Harwood, J.L. Kornegay, D. Bucks, C.B. Flora, J.C. Hanson, W.A. Jury, D. Meyer, A. Schumacher, Jr., H. Sehmsdorf, C. Shennan, L.A. Thrupp, and P. Willis. 2011. “Transforming U.S. Agriculture.” Science 332: 670-671.

Jackson-Smith, D. and J. McEvoy. 2011. “Assessing the long-term impacts of water quality outreach and education efforts on landowners in the Little Bear River watershed in northern Utah,” Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension 17(4): 341-354.

Jackson-Smith, D., E. de la Hoz, M. Halling, J. McEvoy and J. Horsburgh. 2010. “Measuring conservation program BMP implementation and maintenance at the watershed scale,” The Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 65(6):363-373.

Belton, L. and D. Jackson-Smith. 2010. “Factors influencing success among collaborative wildlife management groups in the Western United States,” Environmental Conservation 37(3): 1-11.

Jackson-Smith, D. and E. Jensen, E. 2009 “Agricultural Importance versus Farm Dependence: A New Typology,” Rural Sociology 74(1): 37-55.

Jackson-Smith, D. and J. Sharp. 2008. “Farming in the Urban Shadow: Supporting Agriculture at the Rural-Urban Interface.” Rural Realities 2(4):1-12.

Powell, J. M., D. Jackson-Smith, D.F. McCrory, H. Saam, M. Mariola. 2007. “Nutrient Management Behavior on Wisconsin Dairy Farms.” Agronomy Journal 99:211-219.

Powell, J. M., McCrory, D. F., D. Jackson-Smith, and H. Saam. 2005. “Apparent Manure Collection and Distribution on Wisconsin Dairy Farms.” Journal of Environmental Quality 34(6): 2036-2044.

Jackson-Smith, D., U. Kreuter, and R. Krannich. 2005. “Understanding the Multidimensionality of Property Rights Orientations: Evidence from Utah and Texas Ranchers.” Society and Natural Resources 18(7): 587-610.

Ostrom, M. and D. Jackson-Smith. 2005. “Defining a Purpose: Diverse Farm Constituencies and Publicly Funded Agricultural Research and Extension.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 27(3):57-76.

Jackson-Smith, D.B. and G. W. Gillespie. 2005. “Impacts of Farm Structural Change on Farmer’s Social Ties.” Society and Natural Resources 18(3) 1-26.

Jackson-Smith, D.B., D. Trechter, and N. S. Splett. 2004. “The Contribution of Financial Management Training and Knowledge to Dairy Farm Financial Performance.” Review of Agricultural Economics 26(1): 132-147.

Barham, B., J. Foltz, D. Jackson-Smith, and S. Moon. 2004. “The Dynamics of Agricultural Biotechnology Adoption: Lessons from rBST use in Wisconsin, 1994-2001.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics86(1): 61-72.

Barham, B., J. Foltz, S. Moon, and D. Jackson-Smith. 2004. “A Comparative Analysis of rBST Adoption Across Major U.S. Dairy Regions.” Review of Agricultural Economics 26(1): 32-44.

Jackson-Smith, D.B. and F.H. Buttel. 2003. “The social and ecological dimensions of the alternative-conventional agricultural paradigm scale.” Rural Sociology, 68(4): 613-634.
Powell, J.M., D. Jackson-Smith and L.D. Satter. 2002. “Phosphorus feeding and manure recycling on Wisconsin dairy farms.” Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 62(3): 277-286.

Foltz, J., D. Jackson-Smith, and L. Chen. 2002. “Do Purchasing Patterns Differ Between Large and Small Dairy Farms? Econometric Evidence from Three Wisconsin Communities,” Agricultural Resource Economics Review Vol. 31(1): 28-38.

Book Chapters

Jackson-Smith, D. and P. Petrzelka. 2014. “Land Ownership in American Agriculture.” In C. Bailey, L. Jensen, and E. Ransom (Eds.) Rural America in a Globalizing World: Problems and Prospects for the 2010s. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press.

Clark, Jill K., Shoshanah Inwood, Molly Bean Smith, Jeff S. Sharp, and Douglas Jackson-Smith. 2012. “Local Food Systems: The Birth of New Farmers and the Demise of the Family Farm?” In International Geographical Union Commission on the Dynamics of Economic Spaces Local Food Systems in Old Industrial Regions: Challenges and Opportunities. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing.

Jackson-Smith, D. 2010. “Vulnerabilities & values: Expanding our understanding of human aspects of complex watershed processes in the study of nonpoint source pollution.” Pp. 13-32 in P. Nowak and M. Schnepf, Eds. Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality: Achieving More Effective Conservation. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Clark, K., S. Inwood, J.S. Sharp, and D. Jackson-Smith. 2010. “Community-level influences on agricultural trajectories: seven cases across exurban US.” Pp. 200-219 in Geographical Perspectives on Sustainable Rural Change. Eds. Dick G. Winchell, Doug Ramsey, Rhonda Koster, and Guy M. Robinson. Brandon, Manitoba, Canada: Brandon University Press.

Jackson-Smith, D., E. Jensen, and B. Jennings. 2006. “Land Use Change in the Rural Intermountain West.” Pp. 253-276 in W. Kandel and D. Brown (Eds.) Population Change and Rural Society. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Jackson-Smith, D. 2004. “The Social Aspects of Agriculture.” Pp. 159-174 in M.J. Manfredo, J. J. Vaske, D. R. Field, P. J. Brown, and B. L. Bruyere (eds.) Society and Natural Resources: A Summary of Knowledge. Jefferson City, MO: Modern Litho.

Jackson-Smith, D.B. 2003. "Transforming Rural America: The Challenges of Land Use Change in the Twenty-First Century." Pp. 305-316 in Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty-First Century, edited by D.L. Brown and L.E. Swanson. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.