Date of Award

12-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Kimberly L. Jensen

Committee Members

Dayton M. Lambert, Christoper T. Clark

Abstract

Pasture management and grazing practices affect animal productivity, soil carbon storage and soil and water quality. Poor pasture and grazing management practices can cause soil erosion, nitrogen leaching, and runoff into streams and waterways. Based on a survey of cattle farmers east of the 100th meridian, the following two papers estimate how farm operator, farming operation, and attitudinal variables influence the propensity to use pasture management and prescribed grazing, as well as use of specific pasture management and prescribed grazing practices.

Key findings from the first paper are that individual pasture management and prescribed grazing practices are strong indicators of overall prescribed grazing program adoption. Additionally, the use of the Internet for business decisions displayed the largest positive impact on individual pasture management practices, and farmers living in the Economic Research Service region Fruitful Rim are most likely to adopt a prescribed grazing program. In the second paper, a distinction is drawn between farmers that express general interest in adopting or expanding a prescribed grazing program and those that would adopt the program even if it were unprofitable to do so. Results from this study suggest that farmers who believe that prescribed grazing can produce greater profitability and operation growth are most likely to possess general interest in the program, while farmers who are environmentally concerned and are influenced by the attitudes of other farmers and friends are most likely to adopt prescribed grazing even if it is unprofitable to do so.

The results from both studies further understanding of pasture and prescribed grazing practice use and inform educational and environmental management programs for cattle farmers with grazing lands in the eastern US.

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