Assessing Perceptions, Knowledge Gain, Behavioral Change, and Economic Impact Related to the Adoption of Best Management Practices by Past Participants of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Multi County New Landowners Educational Series
Shackelford, Philip W
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During the past decade, there has been a tremendous influx of new landowners into South Central Texas, particularly in the four counties of Austin, Colorado, Fayette, and Washington. This area of the state is fast becoming a destination for individuals wanting to exit the urban environments of Houston and San Antonio and live a rural lifestyle. From 2006 - 2010, over 1500 people took part in the Multi County New Landowners Educational Series, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices of Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington Counties. Individuals who participated in the course were all considered to be new land owners or land owners that had no formal education in property management or agricultural production. The course exposed them to several best management practices and to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the series on the participants as it pertained to their level of adoption of best management practices for their property, estimate an economic impact and determine the participants attitudes and perceptions of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The study consisted of an online survey sent to past participants of the series and one-on-one interviews with select participants. Findings revealed significant adoption of several best management practices, which in turn improved the overall value per acre of the participants? property. Further, their perceptions about Extension were positively enhanced as a direct result of their participation in the series.