Barriers to Barriers: An Exploration of Snow Fence Adoption and Ramón Seed Market Potential

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Barriers to Barriers: An Exploration of Snow Fence Adoption and Ramón Seed Market Potential

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This Plan B Thesis is comprised of two discrete projects. Each project’s abstract is provided below. An Exploration of Snow Fence Adoption Among Minnesota Landowners Through its Blowing Snow Control Program, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) pays private landowners to install snow fences along state highways to trap snow as it blows across open areas. These barriers, which include trees, shrubs, haybales, permanent fences, and standing corn rows, not only protect Minnesota drivers by increasing visibility and reducing the amount of snow on the roadway, they also save taxpayer dollars, as MnDOT snowplow operators make fewer trips, thus resulting in less fuel consumption and reduced usage of deicers. An ongoing research collaboration between UMN and MnDOT has identified relatively low adoption rates among Minnesota landowners and an associated need for an improved understanding of landowner knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to snow fences. The present study aims to address this area of need by using a mixed-methods approach (listening sessions and surveys) in four regions of the state to uncover landowner constraints, develop an effective outreach plan, and ultimately expand landowner adoption of snow fences. Findings revealed a general lack of program awareness, a wide range of constraints to adoption, and a key recommendation to emphasize MnDOT’s willingness to offer customized, rather than one-size-fits-all, snow fence solutions. An Exploration of U.S. Market Potential for Ramón Seed (Brosimum alicastrum) Since 2011, the University of Minnesota (UMN), in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance’s Climate, Nature, and Communities in Guatemala Initiative, has been conducting value chain analyses on the ramón seed (Brosimum alicastrum), a nutritious tree seed native to the neotropics. To date, most UMN research has focused on the processes, perspectives, organizational structures, and finances of ramón seed producers in the Maya Biosphere Reserve of Guatemala’s Petén Department. Many of these investigations have mentioned and recommended further study of potential market pathways for ramón seed in the United States’ health food industry. This study employs a variety of methods including interviews with health food market stakeholders, preliminary price evaluations, and novel UMN research collaborations to provide insights into ramón seed market development. Results include a need for improved consumer awareness of ramón seed, a recommendation to avoid low-priced commodity markets, and a suggestion to prioritize ramón’s production narrative when marketing to prospective buyers.



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Motschke, Collin. (2020). Barriers to Barriers: An Exploration of Snow Fence Adoption and Ramón Seed Market Potential. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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