Communication among Agricultural Policy Influencers: A Delphi Study
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Agricultural policy affects the agricultural industry in its entirety. It affects everything from the type of food that is grown to how it is processed and distributed. Agricultural policy influencers impact the development of the policy and ultimately impact the future of agriculture. Understanding how these policy influencers impact policy is important to understanding policy development. Knowing where agricultural policy influencers get information, how they prefer to have it presented and how they prefer to communicate with other agricultural policy influencers is vital to understanding and impacting the agricultural policy process. The purpose of this study was to describe agricultural policy influencers’ preference for three aspects of the communication process; (1) sources of information, (2) formats of information, and (3) methods of communication with other agricultural policy influencers. Two Delphi studies were administered to distinctly separate but intersecting expert groups: Congressional agricultural aides, and agricultural lobbyists. These Delphi studies determined each group’s preference for sources of information on agricultural policy, their preference for formats of information, and their preference for methods of communication while communicating with other policy influencers. Since communication is relational, the study broke communication into three sections; (1) communication with peers, (2) communication with members of the opposite expert group with whom there is a close relationship, and (3) communication with members of the opposite expert group with whom there is not a close relationship. Consensus was developed separately for each question and for each group of experts. Data are presented separately throughout this study. In discussing the findings, this study looks at preferences from both sides of the communication interaction. In this way, the study takes two separate Delphi processes and develops them into one clear picture of communication during the policy process. Both groups of experts preferred to have written communication in the form of email and verbal communication in the form of face-to-face and telephone conversations. In addition, both groups preferred to have information presented in the most concise and least time consuming fashion. The data points to the importance of interpersonal relationships, and the need concise and efficient communication methods throughout the policy process. Recommendations for future research and for practitioners are included at the end of the study.
Salazar, Victor Kingsley (2015). Communication among Agricultural Policy Influencers: A Delphi Study. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from