Greer, S. J., Stripling, C. T., Griffith, A. P., & Stephens, C. Ann. (2017). Assessing Tennessee livestock producers’ awareness, attitudes, and perceptions of right-of-way hay harvesting. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(4) 15-33. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.04015
In Tennessee, statute 54-5-134, Cutting Hay Along Controlled Access Highway Right-of-Way, provided agriculturalists the right to harvest hay along interstate highways’ and other controlled access roads’ medians and shoulders. Maintenance of these medians and shoulders are routinely contracted to private mowing companies and funded by Tennessee taxpayers. As a result of the Tennessee statue and lack of empirical information, a questionnaire was used to assess livestock producers’ awareness, attitudes, and barriers concerning right-of-way hay harvesting. We found 7.2% of surveyed livestock producers were aware of their right to this resource, but none of the producers had applied for a permit. While livestock producers were highly innovative in terms of general agricultural practices, they were moderate in attitude towards right-of-way hay harvesting. Attributes leading to a more positive attitude toward right-of-way hay harvest were: (a) the ability to sell hay harvested from right-of-ways, (b) willing to pay someone else to cut hay from right-of-ways, and (c) currently purchasing hay. Alternatively, an attribute leading to a more negative attitude was currently feeding alfalfa mix hay. There is moderate interest among livestock producers to utilize hay from right-of-ways, but further research and education is needed to explore the practicality of this innovation.