Evaluating Stakeholder Perceptions on Palmer Amaranth Management in Georgia

Project Overview

GS19-217
Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2019: $14,797.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2022
Grant Recipient: University of Georgia
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Jennifer Thompson
University of Georgia

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Pest Management: integrated pest management

    Proposal abstract:

    Over the last 20 years the adoption of herbicide tolerant crops in the Southeast, primarily cotton, has increased the adoption of conservation tillage systems, which has been shown to increase the environmental sustainability of row crop production. Unfortunately, the heavy reliance on glyphosate has strongly selected for herbicide resistance in Palmer amaranth, a pernicious annual weed. In response, farmers have re-incorporated deep tillage, and spend large amounts of money on hand weeding. Both these practices decrease environmental and economic sustainability. Practices, such as cover cropping, have been suggested to balance weed suppression and soil conservation; however, cover crops add to management complexity. Newer cotton varieties, resistant to auxin herbicides, are replacing older ones. This has presented environmental, social and economic challenges, with numerous reports of damage to non-HT crops, including high-value specialty crops, leading to economic, legal and interpersonal tensions within rural communities. While farmers are the users of herbicides, Extension agents, as well as industry representatives and salespeople are also part of the “social ecosystem” of weed management. The interactions among these groups directly determine how weed management is practiced. The goal of this study is to use a social science approach called Q-Methodology to: 1. Identify viewpoints from different stakeholder groups around how to best manage Palmer amaranth; 2. Characterize how viewpoints are convergent or divergent among different stakeholder groups; and 3. Determine if stakeholders view ecological practices as viable management strategies. Understanding this social context helps to design effective educational and incentive programs to adopt more sustainable practices.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Identify viewpoints from different stakeholder groups around how to best manage Palmer amaranth;

    2. Characterize how viewpoints are convergent or divergent among different stakeholder groups;

    3. Determine if stakeholders view ecological practices as viable management strategies.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.