Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Geography

First Advisor

April Hiscox

Abstract

The adverse health effects of sugarcane burning emissions on surrounding communities are well documented. Sugarcane farmers in Louisiana, a major sugarcane producing state with 385,000 acres dedicated to sugarcane farming throughout, attempt to mitigate the effects of burn emissions by estimating the characteristics of the resultant smoke plume using meteorological variables as parameters. The current mitigation method designed by the LSU AgCenter, the American Sugar Cane League, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is a manual process requiring the tedious look-up of atmospheric variables from multiple sources and physically drawing a predicted smoke plume on a paper map, leaving room for human error. Because of the manual properties of this program and similar programs in other sugarcane producing states, the questions arise - why is technology not being utilized to improve it? And if the appropriate technology did exist, would they want to use it? Previous agriculture technology adoption research focuses mostly on the adoption of precision agriculture techniques and the computer/Internet, while the focus of this study is the adoptability of a new online application developed to replace the manual mitigation process. The question is shifting from - do farmers own a computer/Internet? to - how are they using it and what motivates them to use certain applications? The distributed survey assessed which characteristics of Louisiana sugarcane farmers and farms are related to the adoptability of the new application. The survey questions asked for demographic information, behaviors and attitudes related to technology, and behaviors and attitudes related to their community, including their level of participation in the currently used manual mitigation program. The correlations found between these variables and the likelihood of adopting the new online application provide insight into what drives a farmer to use technological tools such as this one and if this is an industry space that would welcome additional applications that are similarly designed.

Included in

Geography Commons

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