The University of Arizona

Perceptions vs. recommendations: a rangeland decision-making dilemma.

R.C. Rowan, H.W. Ladewig, L.D. White


This paper analyzes subjective perceptions of Texas ranchers concerning management decision-making to obtain insight for improving technology transfer. Correlations among variables from a 1990 mail questionnaire were transformed by principal component analysis into a small number of "new" variables representing unobservable patterns of behavioral similarities. Two principal components explained variability in rancher's perceptions for each of the areas of interest: stocking rate factors, grazing program benefits, and weed/brush treatment techniques. Stocking rate and grazing program components were each characterized by traditional and nontraditional factors. Ranchers perceived the primary benefit from instituting a grazing program to be improved livestock performance (traditional grazing component 1). Some modification of ranchers' perceptions about the primary benefits of grazing programs is indicated. Weed/brush decision-making was characterized by information-source and economic factors. The information-source component was defined by the importance of advice from neighbors and fear of treatment methods. Because these tend to be negative perceptions, both of these variables have the potential for restricting adoption of weed/brush technology.


reliability;farm surveys;data analysis;grazing tenancy;brush control;weed control;stocking rate;Texas;range management

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