Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Dayton M. Lambert

Committee Members

Christopher D. Clark, Christopher N. Boyer, Shawn A. Hawkins, Karen E. Lewis


Federal programs incentivize livestock managers to adopt best management practices (BMPs), such as rotational grazing, water tank systems, stream crossings, and pasture improvement to prevent or reduce soil erosion. This thesis addresses the challenge of integrating socio-economic data on rotational grazing (RG) adoption behavior with hydrologic/biophysical models to analyze the association between incentives, BMP adoption, and changes in soil erosion. Using primary survey data of livestock producers in an East Tennessee watershed, the study estimates willingness to adopt BMPs among livestock producers. The propensity to adopt one or multiple management technologies, given an incentive, is estimated with a multivariate probit regression. The likelihood producers adopt RG is integrated into the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrologic model to generate upland sediment loss abatement curves for the watershed. Abatement curves specific to each hydrologic response unit (HRU) comprising the watershed are estimated and then aggregated to determine an aggregate abatement curve for the watershed. Based on the abatement curves, HRU are ranked according to programmatic cost efficiency. The maximum upland sediment loss reduction with rotational grazing totals 1,450 tons/year at a cost of $170/ton across the Oostanaula Creek Watershed.

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