Evaluating the perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes of Texas county extension agents about sustainable agriculture
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The purpose of this study was to determine the level of knowledge, perceptions of, and attitudes toward sustainable agriculture held by Texas county extension agents. Conducted from August 1998 to August 1999, the study targeted 570 Texas county extension agents, with 440 completing the study. The one-group pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design was used to conduct the study. Pretest and posttest questionnaires were designed for data collection, and training programs conducted at the district level served as the educational activity. The training programs consisted of an overhead and web site presentation, a brief overview of sustainable agriculture organizations, and a video. After data were manually entered into the computer, they were statistically analyzed. Because time constraints would not allow District 12 six months between the pretest and posttest, results were compared between District 12 and the 11 remaining districts. If no differences existed, the results were combined. Descriptive and frequency statistics were performed to describe the county extension agents. Paired t-tests were used to test for differences between the pretest and posttest data, while correlations tested the relationships among demographic variables and agents' knowledge, perception and attitudes. The population was primarily white, non-Hispanic, well educated, between the ages of 25 and 54, both male and female, and consisted primarily of county extension agents. As District 12 did not respond to the posttest, they were not included in the study. No statistical differences were found between pretest and posttest comparisons of knowledge and perceptions, even though positive improvements were discovered, while no practical difference was found for attitudes. Another variable, action, was found to be statistically significant, which may indicate that the training increased agents' interest in sustainable agriculture. Correlations were also found among the demographic variables and knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes. It was concluded that the training session did not significantly improve Texas county extension agents' knowledge about, perceptions about, and attitude toward sustainable agriculture.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 65-68).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Edwards, Karen Jennifer (1999). Evaluating the perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes of Texas county extension agents about sustainable agriculture. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from