Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

Major Professor

Christopher T. Stripling

Committee Members

Carrie A. Stephens, Andrew P. Griffith

Abstract

In the state of Tennessee, statute 54-5-134, cutting hay along controlled access highway right-of-way, gives Tennessee agriculturalists the right to harvest hay along interstate medians and shoulders. Current maintenance is contracted out to private mowing companies and paid for by Tennessee taxpayers. Relatively few studies have been published on the topic of right-of-way hay harvesting, so this study was preliminary in nature. Through a questionnaire, this study sought to assess Hickman, Dickson, Williamson, Wilson and Rutherford county livestock producers’ current awareness, attitudes, and barriers concerning right-of-way hay harvesting as well as to conduct economic impact analyses to determine producers’ willingness to harvest hay from rightof- ways. Results indicated 7.2% of surveyed livestock producers were aware of their rights to this resource, and none of the producers had applied for a permit. While livestock producers were highly innovative in terms of general agricultural practices, there was a statistically significant decline in attitude towards right-of-way hay harvesting. The following four variables were identified and accounted for 29.6% of the variance in Attitudes toward Right-of-way Hay Harvesting scores: (a) willingness to cut hay off right-of-way if it can be sold, (b) alfalfa mix hay users, (c) willingness to pay someone else to cut hay off of right-of-way, and (d) producers that purchase their hay. There seems to be a moderate interest among producers to utilize the hay from right-of-ways, but further research and education can aid in increasing awareness and adoption.

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