Direct Mailing Education Campaign Impacts on the Adoption of Grazing Management Practices
Author: T. Allen Berthold, Taylor Olsovsky, and Michael Schramm,Issue #174
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality facilitates the Clean Rivers Program where many of Texas’ waters are monitored for various parameters. A common approach to address water quality impairments is to develop and implement Watershed Protection Plans, where a key management measure is to increase the adoption of best management practices through existing government programs that provide technical and financial assistance. A key role for watershed managers during implementation is to raise awareness that technical and financial resources are available to assist producers with adoption. Outreach approaches thus far have included in-person education programs, attendance at local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) meetings, newsletters, and other efforts that have only had minimal reach. As a result, we initiated a mass mailing campaign where 4,921 landowners within Lavaca County, Texas were reached four times in approximately six months with the same message. Partnering with the local SWCD and United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service offices, the number of individual best management practices were acquired for the current and previous five federal fiscal years to measure changes. Results suggest directly mailing educational materials to landowners is an effective outreach approach to increase the adoption of best management practices. Model results indicate a significant 300% increase in adoption of practices compared to historic levels.