The role of agricultural leaders in Farmer Associations and the implications to agricultural extension education in Thailand
The purpose of the study was to describe the role of leadership and the need for leadership training of leaders of the Farmer Associations in transferring new technologies to farmers in Thailand. The study identified demographic characteristics of Farmer Association leaders, the leadership activities performed, the perceptions held regarding selected leadership concepts, and the need for leadership training. In addition the study compared leadership variables to selected demographic data.;The study population consisted of 510 leaders of the district Central Committee of the Farmer Associations in Thailand. A cluster random sampling method was used to select participants for the study. A total of 125 chairpersons and vice-chairpersons participated in the study.;A three-part questionnaire was developed and used to collect data pertinent to the study. Descriptive and inferential statistical procedures were used to analyze the data.;Major demographic findings of the study included the following: respondents had a mean age of 54 years; nearly 41 percent had completed a fourth grade education, with 59 percent having education beyond this level; nearly 34 percent of the respondents had income from all sources of over 100,000 baht.;Coordinating activities with an extension agent in conducting the extension programs received the highest rating among the leadership activities performed, which indicated that there is a need for leadership training to carry out leadership activities. The respondents strongly supported the concept that there had to be a willingness to share power and prestige with other group members for groups to be effective. The respondents indicated that more education and training was needed in establishing rapport with government officials and other organizations. Respondents who were chairpersons indicated more activities, held stronger perceptions, and had a greater perceived need for leadership training than vice-chairpersons. Low-income respondents held more positive perceptions regarding leadership than high-income respondents.