Extension's Role as an Information Source and Channel among Northeast Texas Farmers
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The purpose of this study was to explore the preferred information sources and delivery channels for farm-related information among selected northeast Texas farmers and describe these results in a manner which might enable the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and other agriculture-focused entities better position themselves to address the needs of their clientele. An instrument was developed and mailed to (N = 290) randomly selected farmers from existing Extension mailing lists in four northeast Texas counties: Bowie, Rains, Rusk and Shelby. Participants had the option of responding online or via return mail. The highest ranking interpersonal information sources were other farmers, AgriLife Extension personnel, and seminars/workshops. The lowest ranking interpersonal information sources were agricultural lenders/bankers and private consultants. The highest ranking print-based information sources were agricultural newspapers and farm magazines. The lowest ranking print-based information sources were publications from non-governmental farm organizations and daily or weekly newspapers. Respondents were neutral on the usefulness of television and radio as information sources. The Internet was the only electronic information source agreed to as useful by responding farmers. The lowest ranking electronic media source was social media. The most common type of contact between farmers and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service was reading an Extension publication monthly, followed by a yearly visit to the Extension office. Farmers were satisfied with the quality of the agriculture related materials and programs provided by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and were likely to recommend the agency to others. The majority (91.6%) of respondents had not heard of the national Extension website eXtension and only 4 respondents (2.5%) had reported using the website before. Respondents felt that eXtension would increase the accessibility of Extension programming, should be publicized more by local Extension offices, and would make Cooperative Extension more popular. Internet use among farmers was found to be influenced by age, highest level of education attained, Internet connection type, and other electronic devices used. Perceptions about AgriLife Extension were found to be influenced by Innovativeness Category, primary occupation, gender, and other electronic devices used. Findings in this study support the Uses and Gratifications Theory of media use.
Triplett, Brian Lee 1968- (2012). Extension's Role as an Information Source and Channel among Northeast Texas Farmers. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from