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Targeting educational needs based on natural resource professionals’ familiarity, learning, and perceptions of silvopasture in the southeastern U.S.
- Stutzman, Emily, Barlow, Rebecca Jo, Morse, Wayde, Monks, Dale, Teeter, Larry
- Agroforestry systems 2019 v.93 no.1 pp. 345-353
- extension education, forest management, foresters, land management, landowners, learning, professionals, silvopastoral systems, surveys, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi
- Natural Resource Professionals (NRPs) are commonly regarded as the front lines of agriculture and forest management innovations, including silvopasture, an agroforestry practice. Yet, as silvopasture is a departure from more traditional land management practices, many NRPs may not have the expertise or training to help landowners make informed decisions. Targeted training of professionals may prove beneficial. Through a web survey of NRPs with cooperative extension, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), state forestry services, and private foresters in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida, we found that 64% of respondents are “somewhat” or “very familiar” with silvopasture and 54% have participated in a silvopasture field day. Rates of silvopasture training were highest for NRPs in the NRCS (78%) lowest for registered foresters (29%) (p < .001 Chi square = 55.367) and highest in Alabama (67%) and Mississippi (63%), and lowest in Georgia (41%) (p < .01). Perceptions of the physiographic suitability for silvopasture were lowest in Mississippi (p = .02; test statistic 14.632; DF = 3). The state forestry service NRPs and NRPs in Mississippi and Georgia present strong opportunities for education regarding silvopasture.