Perceptions Regarding Importance and Frequency of Use of Selected Communication Tools by Iowa Cattle Producers
New technologies have profoundly affected the agricultural industry in the twentieth century. Within the agriculture industry numerous forms of communication exist. Forms of communication accessible to cattle producers and industry leaders include face-to-face, print media, electronic media, and social media. With several communication tools available to producers it is imperative to understand producers' perceived importance and usage of these communication tools. Understanding the usage of communication tools by cattle producers will help beef industry partners, beef breed associations, and the overall beef industry to better communicate with producers. Nonetheless, if electronic forms of communication provide quick access to information, one should not always make the assumption that it will replace print media forms of communication.
The purpose of this study was to identify perceptions regarding importance and the frequency of use of communication tools by producer-members of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association who received the electronic newsletter. The population consisted of (N = 3021) producer-members of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association who received the electronic newsletter. A random sample of the members (n = 974) was taken from the population (N=3021). In order to achieve a 95% confident level with a sampling error of +/- 5%, a sample size of 341 was needed. This research utilized an oversample in an effort to acquire a thirty-five percent response rate which was found in similar studies with similar populations.
Findings of this study suggest that different generations of producers prefer different modes of communication. Additionally, respondents had positive views for the use of print media for beef industry information. Electronic media was used more often for personal use than any other communication channel. This study also clarifies the assumption that smartphones provide frequent access to electronic and social media communication channels. If producers owned smartphones their perceived importance and use of electronic and social media channels increased. Further research is needed to determine reasons why communication channels are important for cattle producers. Additionally, further research is needed to determine why cattle producers prefer print media communication channels for beef industry information but prefer electronic communication channels for personal information.