Factors Influencing the Adoption of Water Quality Best Management Practices by Texas Beef Cattle Producers
Jennifer Peterson, Billy McKim, Larry Redmon, Tarla Peterson, Kevin Wagner, Mark McFarland, Terry Gentry

The management of agricultural nonpoint source pollution is complex. Rather than rely on direct regulation, Texas natural resource agencies utilize a watershed approach to encourage the voluntary adoption of best management practices (BMPs) to improve water quality and control nonpoint source pollution. Policy tools used to encourage voluntary adoption include educational programming as well as technical and financial assistance opportunities. Despite the known water quality benefits of BMPs and the availability of policy tools to encourage adoption, some landowners and livestock producers choose not to adopt conservation practices. A statewide survey of Texas beef cattle producers was conducted to examine adoption behavior and to investigate how factors related to capacity, attitudes, environmental awareness, and farm characteristics influence the adoption of BMPs known to reduce levels of bacteria and other contaminants in runoff. Results suggested producers are adopting and maintaining water quality BMPs despite a significant lack of knowledge concerning common water quality terms and the availability of financial assistance programs to aid in practice implementation. The most significant predictors of adoption among survey respondents included interactions with Extension, prior participation in a government cost-share program, crop diversity, annual income, and percent income from the operation. The results suggested the need to address information gaps among beef cattle producers as well as demonstrate a significant opportunity for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Extension Service to forge a strategic long-term partnership to promote increased and sustained adoption of water quality BMPs.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v4n1a21