Date of Award
Master of Science
Ronald L. Hay
G. R. Wells, D. M. Ostermeier, J. M. Lain
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the 1974 Forestry Incentives Program (FIP), interviews were conducted with Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) county executive direc-tors, district foresters, area foresters, and FIP applicants in 12 East Tennessee counties. Administrator questionnaires were designed to determine the extent of FIP activity in the various administrators' areas of responsibility; the administrators' knowledge of FIP and its procedures; attitudes and opinions which influenced administrators; and administrative problems that occurred. Applicant questionnaires were designed to learn the applicants' characteristics, past land management practices, FIP accomplishments, and problems that prevented project completions. FIP was not successful in the study area. Less than 1% of the eligible landowners applied for assistance. Completed projects affected slightly more than 100 acres and comprised just 28% of the approved applications. FIP had numerous inherent problems that retarded its effectiv- ness. Tennessee made no provisions to directly assist landowners in completing their projects. A ten-acre minimum tree planting require-ment in Tennessee prevented several applications from being approved for FIP. Maximum cost-sharing rates set by the state were often substantially inadequate. ASCS had no established procedure for screening applicants; therefore, many ineligible owners were enrolled in FIP, and administrative duties were unnecessarily increased. Disinterest in forestry by ASCS county executive directors and Extension Service county agents appeared to be the outstanding administrator problem that reduced FIP success. These personnel often promoted non-forestry programs and neglected FIP. Another administrator problem was limited understanding of the program, caused by the pro-gram's newness and numerous amendments. Foresters often could not efficiently administer their areas due to a heavy workload. Landowners faced financial difficulties and problems of allocating their time to work on their projects. The compounded problems of the high percentage of absentee-owner applicants also prevented many pro-ject completions. Suggestions were offered to aid improvement of the Forestry Incentives Program and similar programs that may be developed in the future. These suggestions include the following: 1. start the program early in the year; 2. adjust and regulate cost-shares; 3. provide state labor assistance and promote vendor services; 4. increase the forestry-awareness of extension agents and ASCS county directors; 5. improve communications.
Lovelace, Joe D., "An evaluation of the 1974 Forestry Incentives Program in twelve East Tennessee Counties. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1975.