Agricultural information preferences of Iowa crop producers

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Licht, Melea
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Agricultural Education and Studies

The Department of Agricultural Education and Studies was formed in 1989 as a result of the merger of the Department of Agricultural Education with the Department of Agricultural Studies. Its focus includes two these fields: agricultural education leading to teacher-certification or outreach communication; and agricultural studies leading to production agriculture or other agricultural industries.

The Department of Agricultural Education and Studies was formed in 1989 from the merger of the Department of Agricultural Education and the Department of Agricultural Studies.

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"The purpose of this study was to determine the agricultural information preferences of crop producers in Iowa and determine their implications for agricultural extension education. The objectives addressed in this report were to identify agricultural information issues Iowa producers perceive as significant, the types of communication channels they prefer to use to obtain agricultural information, and which communication channels they currently use for such information. To address these objectives data was gathered from five crop producer focus groups held throughout Iowa. Focus group data were collected as audio tapes and transcriptions. Analysis was performed through theme coding and qualitative data charts. The results of this study illustrate the following conclusions: 1) producers prefer and use a variety of communication channels to gather agricultural information; 2) among communication channels producers prefer consultations most highly; 3) producers primarily use radio and consultations for gathering agricultural information; 4) producers prefer and use mass media channels for general information and interpersonal communication channels for specific and applicable information; 5) among mass media channels producers prefer radio; 6) among interpersonal channels producers prefer consultations; 7) simple needs assessments can be used to identify specific issues about which producers desire more information; 8) producers perceive local issues, timely issues, marketing issues, and management issues as significant; and 9) producers consider the source of research funding when determining the reliability of research results. These findings have implications to agricultural extension education in that educators and communicators may use them to set educational priorities and invest time and financial resources according to clientele preferences. These results are also significant to agricultural education in that they reveal a burgeoning role played by agricultural extension educators; that of information filters for producers. This role is especially important as the amount of information producers receive and the channels used to receive it increase. Extension educators could grow their ""information filtering"" role to assist producers in reaching greater understanding of agriculture information presented in the media in order to better their farm operations and way of life."

Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2005