Absentee landowners near a military installation in Texas: Use, motivation, and emotional tie to their land



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The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the motivation of absentee landowners located around a military installation in Texas to maintain their land in agriculture. Urban encroachment around military installations has become problematic, primarily as a result of many years of incompatible development due to the transfer of lands from agricultural use to urban use. Maintaining the land in agriculture increases military training capabilities, thus increasing military readiness both stateside and abroad.

Absentee landowners are of particular interest, since their detachment from the land could be perceived as a disinterest in what occurs there. The determination of landowner motivations may allow programs to be developed which can appeal to the landowners’ motivations and allow the landowners to maintain their land in agriculture.

Four research questions sought to identify landowner motivation. The research questions targeted current land use, the phenomena motivating absentee landowners to maintain their land in agriculture, change in land use over time, and whether a landowner’s emotional tie to the land affects land management decisions. Both the intrinsic motivation of family and the extrinsic motivation of money were identified as general motivating factors, and 15 specific motivating factors were identified within the four overarching themes. Recommendations were made based on applicability of the research to the Army, cooperative extension, legislators and government agencies, financial planners, tax appraisal offices, and estate planners.