Title page for ETD etd-10102011-105127


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Smithhart, Roger D
Author's Email Address rsmith3@tigers.lsu.edu
URN etd-10102011-105127
Title Small and Medium Enterprise Agricultural Producers and Forest Landowners Attitudes and Perceptions towards New Bio-based Paths to Prosperity: A Pilot Study in Louisiana and Mississippi
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Renewable Natural Resources
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Vlosky, Richard Committee Chair
de Hoop, Cornelis Committee Member
Darby, Paul Committee Member
Dunn, Michael Committee Member
Reams, Margaret Committee Member
Keywords
  • survey
  • poultry producers
  • agricultural producers
  • forest landowners
  • bio-based products
  • bioenergy
  • biomass
Date of Defense 2011-09-15
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Energy producers, developers, legislators, policy makers, and the public are searching for alternative energy sources to alleviate energy demands and dependency on fossil fuels. Of the renewable energy sources, biomass from forestry, crop, and animal residues offer a clean and sustainable solution to help mitigate climate issues and stabilize energy needs. However, most forests and farms in the U.S. are privately owned. It’s important to understand forest landowners’, agricultural producers’, and poultry producers’ attitudes and perceptions towards management activities intended for producing bio-based products. Three surveys were conducted tailored for each group. We surveyed 3,500 small to medium forest landowners in Southwest Louisiana, 2,964 small to medium agricultural producers in the Delta region of Louisiana and Mississippi, and 846 poultry producers within the U.S.

Results from all three surveys suggest respondents were positive about utilizing biomass for bioenergy. Results from all three surveys suggests a large portion neutral attitudes respondents have towards bio-based issues are due, in part, to low levels of familiarity on the subject. Also, the majority believed that viable technologies exist for converting biomass to bioenergy. However, most believed it’s a low-value product compared to traditional products. For forestry and agricultural respondents, just over half were willing to participate in management activities specifically geared for biomass production. These older respondents are more likely to agree that harvesting biomass will negatively impact wildlife habitat, air, water, and soil quality. Also, they had a higher propensity to agree that tax credits, subsidies, and incentive programs should not be provided for biomass establishment, selling, and utilization. In contrast, results suggest that larger landowners and producers are less likely to agree that harvesting biomass will negatively impact wildlife habitat, air, water, and soil quality. Also, they are more likely to agree tax credits, subsidies, and incentive programs should be provided for biomass establishment, selling, and utilization. For poultry producers, results indicate that the majority would participate in the sale of poultry litter biomass and biomass markets. Also, poultry producers appeared to have a higher level of familiarity towards biomass concepts and issues when compared to forest landowners and agricultural producers.

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