Communication of agricultural information resulting from on-farm research trials among limited resourse farmers in two N...

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Material Information

Title:
Communication of agricultural information resulting from on-farm research trials among limited resourse farmers in two North Florida counties
Physical Description:
viii, 87 leaves ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Wotowiec, Peter Joseph, 1958- ( Dissertant )
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1987

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture -- Research -- On-farm   ( lcsh )
Farms -- Research   ( lcsh )
Agricutural estimating and reporting   ( lcsh )
Advertising -- Agriculture   ( lcsh )
Peanuts   ( lcsh )
Agricultural and Extension Education thesis M.S
Dissertations, Academic -- Agricultural and Extension Education -- UF
Genre:
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
thesis   ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract:
The central purpose of this study was to examine the informational effects of on-farm research trials of perennial peanut forage (Arachis glabra Benth.) among limited resource farmers in a two county area of North Central Florida. A secondary purpose was to determine characteristics of the on-farm trials which are related to farmers' awareness of them. Personal interviews of limited resource farmers and of cooperating farmers who managed the trials were conducted. Interviews were complied with 29 (94%) of the 31 cooperators and with 78 (57%) of the 138 limited resource farmers who were contacted. The analysis utilized frequencies, percentages and chi-square tests. The on-farm trials were not effective inn increasing awareness of perennial peanut among farmers. Few farmers were aware of the trials. Farmer awareness of the trials was not significantly associated with the physical characteristics of the trial or with characteristics of the cooperating farmers. However, farmers appear more likely to be aware of trials which have been in place longer, where cooperators do not work off the farm, have resided locally for longer periods of time and where they conduct more than one trial. An important channel for agricultural information for some limited resource farmers may be through local farm organizations. Although not statistically significant, farmers who were aware of the trials tended to be more involved in local farm groups. Interpersonal communication about the perennial peanut trials between cooperators and other limited resource vfamrers appeared to be minimal even though these two groups were similar on the basis of the variables studied. Interpersonal communication between cooperators and other local farmers cannot be solely relied upon to spread information about trials. Awareness of the trials was positively associated with contact with extension. However, efforts to promote the trials were not well planned nor consistently employed and had little effect on farmer awareness.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Peter Joseph Wotowiec.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 1987.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 72-76.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Funding:
Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life

Record Information

Source Institution:
Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location:
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000968196
oclc - 17330945
notis - AEU3412
System ID:
UF00054863:00001

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page I
    Acknowledgement
        Page II
    Table of Contents
        Page III
        Page IV
    List of Tables
        Page V
    List of Figures
        Page VI
    Abstract
        Page VII
        Page VIII
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Farming systems research and extension
            Page 1
    Review of literature
        Page 11
        Technology innovation process
            Page 11
    Research procedure
        Page 34
        Population and samples
            Page 34
            Page 35
        Theory of diffusion of innovations
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Communication channels
                Page 17
                Page 18
                Page 19
        Instrumentation
            Page 36
        Data collection procedure
            Page 37
            Homophily, heterophily and information flow
                Page 21
                Page 22
                Page 23
        Statistical analysis
            Page 38
            Page 39
    Presentation and analysis data
        Page 40
        Objective 1
            Page 40
            Awareness of perennial peanut
                Page 40
            On-farm trials as tools for research
                Page 2
            Innovation-decision process
                Page 16
            Awareness of perennial peanut trials
                Page 41
            On-farm trials and farmer communication
                Page 4
        Result demonstration
            Page 24
            Page 25
        Objective 2
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
        Statement of the problem
            Page 5
        Purpose and objectives
            Page 5
        On-farm trials
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
        Objective 3
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
        Need for the study
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
        Additional analyses
            Page 52
            Cooperators and unware farmers compared
                Page 52
                Page 53
                Page 54
            Promotion of trials and farmer awareness
                Page 55
                Page 56
                Page 57
                Page 58
        Objective 4
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Communication networks
                Page 20
        Cooperating farmers and information diffusion
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
        Farmer awareness and site characteristics
            Page 30
            On-farm trials as tools for extension
                Page 3
    Summary, conclusions, and recommendations
        Page 59
        Summary
            Page 59
            Page 60
        Definition of terms
            Page 9
            Page 10
        Findings
            Page 61
            Objective 1
                Page 61
            Objective 2
                Page 61
            Objective 3
                Page 62
            Objective 4
                Page 63
            Additional findings
                Page 63
                Page 64
        Conclusions
            Page 65
            Objective 1
                Page 65
            Objective 2
                Page 65
            Objective 3
                Page 66
            Objective 4
                Page 67
            Additional conclusions
                Page 67
        Recommendations
            Page 68
            On-farm trials
                Page 68
                Page 69
            Extension efforts
                Page 70
            Further research
                Page 71
    Reference
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
    A interview instrument
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    On-farm trial description form
        Page 86
    Biographical sketch
        Page 87
    Signature page
        Page 88
        Page 89
Full Text












COMMUNICATION OF AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION RESULTING FROM
ON-FARM RESEARCH TRIALS AMONG LIMITED RESOURCE FARMERS
IN TWO NORTH FLORIDA COUNTIES



By

PETER JOSEPH WOTOWIEC JR.


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE








UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1987


'I i)
















COMMUNICATION OF AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION RESULTING FROM
ON-FARM RESEARCH TRIALS AMONG LIMITED RESOURCE FARMERS
IN TWO NORTH FLORIDA COUNTIES



By

PETER JOSEPH WOTOWIEC JR.


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE







UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1987
















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I would like to thank my wife Sandra. Without her

patient understanding and loving support this work would

never have been completed. Special appreciation is

extended to Dr. Carl Beeman, Dr. Jimmy Cheek, Dr. Peter

Hildebrand, Dr. Peter Warnock, Dr. John Woeste and Dr. Glen

Israel for their encouragement and tolerance in guiding me

through this learning endeavor. I am indebted to Robert

Hessels and my other fellow graduate students who have

taught me to question "Why?"















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . .... . . ii

LIST OF TABLES . . . .... .. V

LIST OF FIGURES. . . .... .. . .. vi

ABSTRACT . . . v. . . .ii

CHAPTER

I INTRODUCTION. . . . .... .. .. 1

Farming Systems Research And Extension. . 1
On-Farm Trials as Tools for Research . 2
On-Farm Trials as Tools for Extension. . 3
On-Farm Trials and Farmer Communication. 4
Statement Of The Problem. . . . 5
Purpose And Objectives. . . . 5
Need For The Study. . . . 6
Definition Of Terms . . . 9

II REVIEW OF LITERATURE . . . .. 11

Technology Innovation Process. . .. 11
Theory Of Diffusion Of Innovations. . .. .12
Innovation-Decision Process. . . 16
Communication Channels . . ... 17
Communication Networks . . ... 20
Homophily, Heterophily and Information Flow. 21
Result Demonstrations . . ... 24
On-Farm Trials. .... . . . .. 26
Farmer Awareness and Site Characteristics .. 30
Cooperating Farmers and Information Diffusion 31

III RESEARCH PROCEDURE . . . .. .34

Populations and Samples . . ... 34
Instrumentation . . ....... 36
Data Collection Procedure ........... 37
Statistical Analysis. . . .. .. 38



iii








IV PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA . .. .40

Objective 1 . . ........ 40
Awareness of Perennial Peanut. ...... 40
Awareness of Perennial Peanut Trials .. 41
Objective 2 . . . . .. 42
Objective 3 . . . . .. 45
Objective 4 . . . . 49
Additional Analyses . . . .. 52
Cooperators and Unaware Farmers Compared 52
Promotion of Trials and Farmer Awareness 55

V SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .. 59

Summary . . . . .. .. 59
Findings. . . . ... .. .61
Objective 1 . . . . 61
Objective 2 . . . . 61
Objective 3 . . . ... 62
Objective 4 . . . .. .. 63
Additional Findings . . . .. .63
Conclusions . . . . ... 65
Objective 1 . . . . .. 65
Objective 2 . . . . 65
Objective 3 . . . ... 65
Objective 4 . . . ... 66
Additional Conclusions. . . .. .67
Recommendations . . . ... ..67
On-Farm Trials. . . . .... ..68
Extension Efforts . . . .. .69
Further Research. . . . 70

REFERENCES. . . . . ... .72


APPENDICES

A Interview Instrument. . . . .. .77

B On-Farm Trial Description Form. . .. .86

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . ... .87
















LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1 Results of contacts of limited resource
landowners. . . . .. 36

2 Sources of farmer awareness of perennial
peanut. . . . . ... 41

3 Farmer awareness of specific perennial
peanut trials . . . ... 42

4 Summary of tests of association between
farmer awareness of specific trials and
selected trial locational
characteristics . . ... .43

5 Summary of tests of association between
farmer awareness of specific trials and
selected cooperator attributes. . .. 47

6 Summary of tests of difference between
farmers who were aware of specific trials
and farmers who were not aware. . ... 50

7 Summary of tests of difference between
farmers who were not aware of trials and
cooperating farmers . . .. 54

8 Contact with extension by farmer
awareness of trials . . . 55

9 Receiving extension newsletters by
awareness of trials . . .. 57

10 Mention in newspaper by farmer awareness
of specific cooperators . . .. 58
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure Page

1 Technology innovation process . .. 12

2 Stages in the innovation-decision
process . . . . 16

3 Sequence for developing, evaluating and
delivering technologies to farmers. . 28















Abstract of Thesis Presented to
the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
the Degree of Master of Science


COMMUNICATION OF AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION RESULTING FROM
ON-FARM RESEARCH TRIALS AMONG LIMITED RESOURCE FARMERS
IN TWO NORTH FLORIDA COUNTIES

By

PETER JOSEPH WOTOWIEC JR.

August 1987

Chairman: Carl E. Beeman
Cochairman: Jimmy G. Cheek
Major Department: Agricultural and Extension Education

The central purpose of this study was to examine the

informational effects of on-farm research trials of

perennial peanut forage (Arachis glabra Benth.) among

limited resource farmers in a two county area of North

Central Florida. A secondary purpose was to determine

characteristics of the on-farm trials which are related to

farmers' awareness of them.

Personal interviews of limited resource farmers and of

cooperating farmers who managed the trials were conducted.

Interviews were completed with 29 (94%) of the 31

cooperators and with 78 (57%) of the 138 limited resource

farmers who were contacted. The analysis utilized

frequencies, percentages and chi-square tests.


vii








The on-farm trials were not effective in increasing

awareness of perennial peanut among farmers. Few farmers

were aware of the trials.

Farmer awareness of the trials was not significantly

associated with the physical characteristics of the trial

or with characteristics of the cooperating farmers.

However, farmers appear more likely to be aware of trials

which have been in place longer, where cooperators do not

work off the farm, have resided locally for longer periods

of time and where they conduct more than one trial.

An important channel for agricultural information for

some limited resource farmers may be through local farm

organizations. Although not statistically significant,

farmers who were aware of the trials tended to be more

involved in local farm groups.

Interpersonal communication about the perennial peanut

trials between cooperators and other limited resource

farmers appeared to be minimal even though these two groups

were similar on the basis of the variables studied.

Interpersonal communication between cooperators and other

local farmers cannot be solely relied upon to spread

information about trials.

Awareness of the trials was positively associated with

contact with extension. However, efforts to promote the

trials were not well planned nor consistently employed and

had little effect on farmer awareness.


viii















CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION



Farming Systems Research And Extension



Through a process of trial and error, continuing over

generations, farmers develop, adapt and evaluate new ideas

and solutions for the agricultural problems they confront.

The farming systems research and extension (FSR/E) approach

is designed to facilitate this natural technology

innovation process and allow farmers to better stay abreast

of the many changes in our modern society (Hildebrand and

Waugh, 1983). Working within existing research and

extension institutions, this approach brings together

biological and social scientists, extension personnel and

farmers to develop, test, adapt, evaluate, and deliver

appropriate agricultural technologies to specific farming

systems. Combined farmer, extensionist and researcher

observations lead to a fuller diagnosis and understanding

of the key production constraints of the targeted farming

system. Ideally, communication among farmers, researchers

and extensionists is maximized through frequent contact and

interaction in solving farm problems.

1















CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION



Farming Systems Research And Extension



Through a process of trial and error, continuing over

generations, farmers develop, adapt and evaluate new ideas

and solutions for the agricultural problems they confront.

The farming systems research and extension (FSR/E) approach

is designed to facilitate this natural technology

innovation process and allow farmers to better stay abreast

of the many changes in our modern society (Hildebrand and

Waugh, 1983). Working within existing research and

extension institutions, this approach brings together

biological and social scientists, extension personnel and

farmers to develop, test, adapt, evaluate, and deliver

appropriate agricultural technologies to specific farming

systems. Combined farmer, extensionist and researcher

observations lead to a fuller diagnosis and understanding

of the key production constraints of the targeted farming

system. Ideally, communication among farmers, researchers

and extensionists is maximized through frequent contact and

interaction in solving farm problems.

1















CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF LITERATURE



This chapter is devoted to a review of literature

related to innovation diffusion and the use of

demonstrations and on-farm research trials to disseminate

farm information among farmers.



Technology Innovation Process



The technology innovation process is an "autonomous

social process" through which new technologies, practices,

and ideas are developed and spread through a society

(McDermott, 1984). As such, it is inherently found in all

cultures, modern and primitive. The Land Grant

agricultural research and extension system is an example of

an organized institutional structure designed to facilitate

the technology innovation process. Relating the

conventional distinction of research and extension to the

technology innovation model outlined below, it will be

noted that there is no clear-cut distinction between the

responsibilities of the two. Indeed, McDermott notes that

in the central stages of the technology innovation process,

11















CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF LITERATURE



This chapter is devoted to a review of literature

related to innovation diffusion and the use of

demonstrations and on-farm research trials to disseminate

farm information among farmers.



Technology Innovation Process



The technology innovation process is an "autonomous

social process" through which new technologies, practices,

and ideas are developed and spread through a society

(McDermott, 1984). As such, it is inherently found in all

cultures, modern and primitive. The Land Grant

agricultural research and extension system is an example of

an organized institutional structure designed to facilitate

the technology innovation process. Relating the

conventional distinction of research and extension to the

technology innovation model outlined below, it will be

noted that there is no clear-cut distinction between the

responsibilities of the two. Indeed, McDermott notes that

in the central stages of the technology innovation process,

11
















CHAPTER III

RESEARCH PROCEDURE



The central purpose of this study was to examine the

informational effects of on-farm research trials among

farmers and to determine what characteristics are

associated with enhanced farmer awareness of the trials and

the technologies being tested. This chapter reports the

research procedures employed to accomplish this purpose.



Populations And Samples



One population of reference to this ex post facto

study consists of farm households in Columbia and Suwannee

counties which are classified as "small" or "limited

resource" using the criteria outlined by the North Florida

Farming Systems Research/Extension Project. According to

Swisher & Smith,

A small farmer in the context of the farming systems
program was defined as an in-county farm resident who
(1) owns 21 to 399 acres of land, (2) produces less
than 15 acres of peanuts, (3) produces less than 10
acres of tobacco, and/or, (4) raises fewer than
75,000 chickens in a single batch (fewer than three
chicken houses). (1985, p. 2)
















CHAPTER III

RESEARCH PROCEDURE



The central purpose of this study was to examine the

informational effects of on-farm research trials among

farmers and to determine what characteristics are

associated with enhanced farmer awareness of the trials and

the technologies being tested. This chapter reports the

research procedures employed to accomplish this purpose.



Populations And Samples



One population of reference to this ex post facto

study consists of farm households in Columbia and Suwannee

counties which are classified as "small" or "limited

resource" using the criteria outlined by the North Florida

Farming Systems Research/Extension Project. According to

Swisher & Smith,

A small farmer in the context of the farming systems
program was defined as an in-county farm resident who
(1) owns 21 to 399 acres of land, (2) produces less
than 15 acres of peanuts, (3) produces less than 10
acres of tobacco, and/or, (4) raises fewer than
75,000 chickens in a single batch (fewer than three
chicken houses). (1985, p. 2)









35

A sampling frame of the population of all potential

small farmers in this two county area was developed based

on information from tax assessors' records, lists of

tobacco and peanut allotments and records of contract

chicken farmers kept by local poultry agribusinesses.

A list of 1800 persons meeting the above criteria was

compiled. An initial random sample of 300 was drawn from

it. Many of these landowners, who were contacted by phone,

were not actively farming or only had timber plantings. To

achieve an acceptable number of interviews with active crop

or livestock farmers, an additional random sample of 95 was

drawn. In all, 395 farmers were sampled. Table 1

summarizes the results of those contacts. One hundred and

thirty-eight limited resource farmers were contacted who

were actively farming. Of those, 78 were interviewed

resulting in a 57% response rate. Using the formula for

determining sample size outlined by Israel (1987), these 78

interviews provide a confidence level of 90% with a

precision level of plus or minus 9 percentage points.

The second population of concern to this study

consists of farmers who cooperated with the program by

planting and testing a relatively new forage crop called

perennial peanut (Arachis glabata Benth.) on their farms.

The North Florida program has conducted on-farm trials of

this forage crop for the last 5 years.









12

"it is almost essential that research and extension blend

so well that they are indistinguishable" (p. 6).





World Integrate Common
Stock Research -------------------> Diffusion Practice
of Develop Test Adapt
Knowledge


Figure. Technology innovation process

Source: McDermott, 1984



In actual practice the stages defined in the model are

not static and clearly distinguishable from each other,

although each is a component of the overall continuum. The

focus of this study lies within both the technology

adaptation and diffusion stages. On-farm trials, used to

test, adapt, and verify technologies under actual farm

conditions and constraints, are also likely to aid in

diffusing those technologies to farmers.



Theory Of Diffusion Of Innovations



A theoretical framework employing a communications

approach to the "diffusion of innovations" concept has

emerged largely within the last thirty years. Rogers

(1962, 1983) and Rogers and Shoemaker (1971) have attempted

to synthesize diffusion research and literature from








13

numerous disciplines into a common set of findings and

concepts. In his latest effort (1983) Rogers has reviewed

3,085 diffusion publications, refining and adding to his

"generalizations" and to this theory of diffusion.

As evidenced by the many changes and revisions between

the 1962, 1971, and 1983 works, the theory of the diffusion

of innovations still remains in a state of evolution and

refinement. Concern and criticism about certain

inadequacies of this diffusion paradigm and its sometimes

adverse social effects when employed inappropriately have

been voiced (Goss, 1979; Hepp, 1979; Rolinq. 1981:

Valkonen. 1970). Suaaested modifications include olacina

areater emphasis on the role of the characteristics of

innovations in the adoption process, more precise

delineation of target audiences and their differences, and

additional attention placed on the consequences of

adoption.

Rogers acknowledges these criticisms and notes,

"Criticism is due in large part to the stereotyped and

limited ways in which most diffusion scholars have come to

define the scope and method of their field of study" (1983,

p. xvii). Too frequently, the tendency has been to

implicitly consider any innovation as good and not question

its usefulness for varying situations and clientele. Much

effort has been expended in studying the differences among

individuals in their "innovativeness", yet relatively fewer








14

analyses of the characteristics of innovations as related

to rates of adoption have been undertaken (Rogers, 1983).

Undue emphasis has been placed upon individual-level

factors such as innovativeness, age and traditionalism in

the adoption process with insufficient attention paid to

the effect of system-level factors, such as agricultural

policies, market and supply infrastructure and geographical

location (Brown, 1981). Feder, Just, and Zilberman stress

that researchers must also provide "detailed information on

attributes of the institutional, social, and cultural

setting and their interactions with economic factors" in

studies of adoption (1982, p. iii). Finally, too often the

end sought has been the adoption of innovations with much

less attention placed on the consequences of that adoption

(Roling, 1981).

The diffusion of innovations paradigm remains dominant

in rural sociology, extension education and various other

fields. It will be utilized here as the theoretical frame

of reference, keeping in mind its potential limitations and

biases as presently conceptualized. Key components of the

diffusion of innovations theory which are relevant to this

study will be briefly reviewed.

"Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is

communicated through certain channels over time among

members of a social system" (Rogers, 1983, p. 5). The four

main elements in diffusion are the innovation, the channel








15

of communication, the time involved, and the social system

in which this process occurs. This process entails more

than a simple unilinear transfer of a message from one

individual to another. Diffusion can be considered as a

"process of convergence whereby two or more individuals

exchange information about an innovation in an interaction

which continues through several cycles over time" (1983,

pp. 5-6).

An innovation is an idea, practice, or object

perceived as new by an individual. The attributes of

innovations as viewed by potential adopters largely

influence their respective rates of adoption. Relative

advantage refers to the degree to which an innovation is

perceived as better than the idea or practice it replaces.

Aspects of relative advantage include economic

profitability, gain in social status, low initial cost,

decrease in discomfort, savings in time, effort and cost,

and immediacy of benefit. Compatibility is the degree to

which an innovation is considered consistent with the

potential adopters' values, beliefs, past experiences, and

needs. Complexity refers to the degree to which an

innovation is considered difficult to understand and use.

Trialability refers to the degree to which a potential

adopter is able to experiment with an innovation before

adoption. Finally, observability is the degree to which












This model of the innovation-decision process stems

from an earlier conceptualization of the individual

adoption process consisting of awareness, interest,

evaluation, trial, and adoption stages which was widely

used by rural sociologists (Lionberger, 1960; Lionberger

and Gwin, 1982; Rogers and Beal, 1958). Rogers' model of

this process is notable chiefly because it does not stop

with adoption but recognizes a subsequent "confirmation"

stage. In this study, the initial knowledge [or awareness]

stage will be of most concern, although information

transfer as a result of on-farm trial activities may be

important at each of the stages.



Communication Channels



A communication source is an individual or entity that

originates a message, and a communications channel is the

means by which a message gets from a source to a receiver.

Channels are often categorized in a general manner as

either interpersonal or mass media depending upon whether

the exchange of information is conducted face-to-face or

transmitted unilaterally via radio, television or printed

materials. Mass media channels have the advantage of being

able to rapidly reach a large audience with information,








18

although because of the impersonal nature of mass media,

only weak changes in attitudes are effected.

Interpersonal channels allow two-way exchange of

information and have a stronger effect on attitude

formation owing to their face-to-face nature.

Unfortunately, because of time and travel limitations, a

change agent emphasizing only interpersonal channels is

only able to interact with a small audience. In discussing

the relative importance of these two channels, Rogers sets

forth the following generalization; "Mass media channels

are typically more important at the knowledge stage and

interpersonal channels are more important at the persuasion

stage in the innovation-decision process" (1983, pp.

198-199).

On a contrary note, communication studies of small

farmers in the United States have noted greater reliance

upon interpersonal channels of information, even in the

presence of mass media channels (Allen, 1985; Hepp, 1979;

Hepp and Olson, 1980). Doughty and Schmidt, reflecting on

their study of information communication among small

farmers in Alachua County, Florida, state "the mass media

role in dissemination of farm related information appears

weak at best" (1981, p. 13).

Even some studies cited by Rogers (1983) in developing

countries tend to show that interpersonal channels are more

important than mass media at all stages in the








19
innovation-decision process. Rogers believes the reason for

this is due to the relatively lesser presence of mass media

in these settings. However, in a study of the use of

information channels by Oregon farmers, Mason (1964)

concluded that the usage of mass media was less than that

of other channels at all stages in the adoption process.

Indeed, other authors have noted that studies which

attempt to determine the relative significance of various

communication channels at each stage of the

innovation-decision process are frequently conflicting

(McArthur, 1978). Allen (1985) found that specific

agricultural subgroups defined on the basis of sex, farm

size and farm enterprise differ in their relative degree of

reliance upon mass media and interpersonal channels for

information acquisition just as they differ in their

personal, social and farming characteristics. This implies

that part of the reason for conflicting findings concerning

the usage of communication channels might be because

different population subgroups have differing communication

behaviors, including their reliance upon particular

channels.

Actually, mass media and interpersonal communication

channels are complementary and both are necessary for

effective communication. Mass media and other external

channels such as extension personnel and agricultural

salesmen generally provide initial inputs of new











Table 1
Results of contacts of limited resource landowners


Category Frequency Percent


Not farming 203 52%

Timber only 54 14%

Farming* 138 35%

Total contacted 395 100%

* Interviews were completed with 78 of these active
farmers and 60 declined to be interviewed.



Not including the recent 1986 season, 35 farmers

(hereafter referred to as "cooperators") conducted formal

on-farm trials of perennial peanut. Of those, 2 had moved

away and 2 had quit farming. Twenty-nine (94%) of the

remaining 31 cooperators were interviewed. This number of

cooperators interviewed provides a 95% confidence level

with plus or minus 5 percentage points.



Instrumentation



An interview instrument (Appendix A) was developed,

based on a similar instrument used in the area in 1984 and

was field tested in coordination with the IFAS Program

Evaluation and Organizational Development Unit. Validity

was reviewed by selected professionals in the Florida

Cooperative Extension Service. This instrument was









37

used to interview limited resource farmers and cooperating

farmers to gather information for conducting an impact

evaluation of the North Florida project and to provide data

for this study. A second instrument was also developed

(Appendix B) to record characteristics of each cooperator's

perennial peanut trials which were observed during on-site

visits by the researcher.



Data Collection Procedure



Orientation of the researcher to the field setting

took place through visits and collaboration with North

Florida project members in the two county area during the

fall of 1985 and spring of 1986. A two month internship

with the Suwannee County Cooperative Extension Service

during the summer of 1986 provided additional insight

concerning constraints to local agriculture and the various

strategies used by different types of farmers in combining

enterprises, management, labor, and other resources to

realize their goals.

Initial field work began in January, 1987. A field

test of the instrument was conducted. Interviewing for the

purpose of this study was completed by this researcher and

another interviewer by April, 1987.








21

individuals in a network have personal communication

networks that overlap" (Rogers, 1983, pp. 295-296). This

proximity is the basis for defining communication cliques,

or subgroups of individuals who interact with each other

relatively more than with other members of the

communication system. Lionberger (1960) describes

different social groups which may form the foci for

exchange of information in different settings and

circumstances. The local community, the neighborhood,

social cliques, and formal groups are considered to be the

most relevant types of social groupings related to

communication networks.



Homophily, Heterophily and Information Flow



Rogers notes that optimal exchange of information

between two individuals is most likely to occur when those

individuals are alike or homophilous. Homophily is defined

as the "degree to which pairs of individuals who interact

are similar in certain attributes, such as beliefs,

education, social status and the like" (1983, pp. 274-276).

Homophily among members of a communication network tends to

be the rule rather than the exception, especially among

less mobile, traditional groups. Communication between

individuals who share the same set of values and who use

commonly defined words and expressions is more likely to be









22

effective than between individuals from two disparate

social groups possessing differing beliefs and even spoken

dialects. However, communication networks comprised mainly

of linkages between similar individuals from a common local

area lack inputs of new information which would generally

enter through contacts with socially and spatially distant

others.

Heterophily concerns the degree of dissimilarity

between individuals. Heterophilous communication occurs

less frequently but is especially important as the link

which brings new information into a communication system

from outside. New ideas frequently enter a system through

individuals of higher status who have more communication

links with outside sources of information. In social

systems with heterophilous tendencies, lower status

individuals have more opportunities to communicate with

higher status information sources, thus rapidly diffusing

awareness and information through the system (Rogers,

1983). In social systems tending toward homophily, higher

status individuals rarely interact on a regular basis with

lower status individuals, thus imposing a potential barrier

to communication.

The degree of homophily of a social system is an

important consideration in planning communication

strategies intended to reach all classes of that society.

If a high degree of homophily is apparent internally among








23

the various groups in a community, and the groups are quite

dissimilar to one another, it would be erroneous to

consider that spread of information between them takes

place at a rapid rate. A strategy of dealing directly with

the elite, expecting information to trickle down to others

would be inappropriate. "One implication of homophily as a

barrier to diffusion is that change agents should work with

different sets of opinion leaders throughout the social

structure" (Rogers, 1983, pp. 275-276).

Coughenour and Nazhat in a study of communication

among village farmers in North Kordofan, Sudan, have made

some pertinent observations concerning barriers to

communication;

Channels of informal communication between and within
villages do function to bring villagers information
about innovations and the system is
surprisingly efficient. However, there is evidence
that the system has gaps or barriers which
direct the flow of information to some groups and
away from others. It results in a patchy and
irregular distribution of information among villages
and to groups within villages. (1985, p. 72)


They identify a number of factors which contribute to

these communication barriers, both personal and

socio-cultural. Farmers suppress information about new

grain varieties for personal gain and because of

uncertainty about their appropriateness. Information

normally flows well within individual kinship networks and

tribal groups, but tends to flow much slower between the

different groups. Information flow between males and








38

Statistical Analysis



Item responses for the two survey instruments were

entered and verified using Statistical Analysis System

(SAS) software on a personal computer. Review of the data

for errors and initial descriptive analysis was

accomplished by deriving one way frequencies, cumulative

frequencies, percent and cumulative percent for each

item.

Pearson's chi-square test was selected as the most

appropriate statistical test of association given the

nominal nature of the data (Bailey, 1982). In cases of two

by two contingency tables with smaller samples, where more

than 25% of the expected cell counts were less than 5,

Fisher's Exact Test was used in place of Pearson's chi-

square to determine the existence of a statistically

significant association. Fisher's Exact Test is a more

conservative procedure which provides the exact p-value for

a comparison with small samples. Where a significant

association was found, the strength of that association was

measured by Cramer's V statistic (Kendall and Stuart,

1979).

In the case of making multiple comparisons to test a

hypothesis, it is necessary to control for the chance that

the results of one or more of the individual comparisons

might be erroneous. This is done statistically by setting









39

an overall acceptable error level. Individual error levels

are then calculated for each particular comparison which

together comprise the overall error level.

In this analysis, the overall error level in the case

of multiple chi-square comparisons was set at 0.10,

resulting in individual error levels from 0.01 to 0.02.

For all other cases of individual comparisons, the error

level used was 0.05.















CHAPTER IV

PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA


This chapter presents analyses of data which are

designed to fulfill the original objectives of this study

and also attempt to answer certain other questions which

are raised by the findings. Awareness of farmers

concerning the perennial peanut trials is described and

associations between farmer awareness and selected

characteristics of the trials and of the farmer-cooperators

are reported. Possible reasons for low farmer awareness of

the trials are examined by additional analyses.



Objective 1



The first objective of this study was to examine the

awareness of local limited resource farmers concerning

specific on-farm perennial peanut research trials.



Awareness of Perennial Peanut



Of the limited resource farmers interviewed, 43.6%

(34 of 78) had heard of the name of this new forage crop.

Twenty-eight farmers, who were aware of perennial peanut,

40















CHAPTER IV

PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA


This chapter presents analyses of data which are

designed to fulfill the original objectives of this study

and also attempt to answer certain other questions which

are raised by the findings. Awareness of farmers

concerning the perennial peanut trials is described and

associations between farmer awareness and selected

characteristics of the trials and of the farmer-cooperators

are reported. Possible reasons for low farmer awareness of

the trials are examined by additional analyses.



Objective 1



The first objective of this study was to examine the

awareness of local limited resource farmers concerning

specific on-farm perennial peanut research trials.



Awareness of Perennial Peanut



Of the limited resource farmers interviewed, 43.6%

(34 of 78) had heard of the name of this new forage crop.

Twenty-eight farmers, who were aware of perennial peanut,

40















CHAPTER IV

PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA


This chapter presents analyses of data which are

designed to fulfill the original objectives of this study

and also attempt to answer certain other questions which

are raised by the findings. Awareness of farmers

concerning the perennial peanut trials is described and

associations between farmer awareness and selected

characteristics of the trials and of the farmer-cooperators

are reported. Possible reasons for low farmer awareness of

the trials are examined by additional analyses.



Objective 1



The first objective of this study was to examine the

awareness of local limited resource farmers concerning

specific on-farm perennial peanut research trials.



Awareness of Perennial Peanut



Of the limited resource farmers interviewed, 43.6%

(34 of 78) had heard of the name of this new forage crop.

Twenty-eight farmers, who were aware of perennial peanut,

40









2

On-Farm Trials as Tools for Research



Following initial research carried out on the

experiment station under controlled conditions, on-farm

technology testing trials are conducted. Trials managed by

a farming systems team allow promising technologies to be

evaluated in the variable environments found on farms in

the targeted area. Farmer-managed verification trials are

the final step in the process before the delivery of

adapted technology to appropriate farmers. Farmers who

cooperate by managing the simplified on-farm trials

indicate acceptability of the technology through comments

and by their adoption or nonadoption of it (Gilbert,

Norman, and Winch, 1980; Hildebrand and Poey, 1985).

Interdisciplinary teamwork between researchers and

extensionists, participation of farmers in all stages of

the process, and testing and adaptation of technologies

under actual farm conditions have led to the successful

development of adapted agricultural technologies for

specific farming systems. Examples include improved

sorghum and millet varieties for the Western Sudan

(Coughenour and Nazhat, 1985), improved intercropping

systems of maize with beans, wheat and cabbage in Guatemala

(Hildebrand, Ruano, Lopez Yoz, Samayoa, and Duarte, 1977),

and perennial peanut as an adapted forage crop for North

Florida (Schmidt, 1984).








16

the results of adoption of an innovation are visible to

others (Rogers, 1983).



Innovation-Decision Process



The innovation-decision process "consists of a series

of actions and choices over time through which an

individual evaluates a new idea and decides whether

or not to incorporate it into ongoing practice" (Rogers,

1983, p. 163). A recent five stage model of this process

postulated by Rogers is outlined in Figure 2.






KNOWLEDGE
Exposure to innovation and knowledge of how it works.


PERSUASION
Form favorable or unfavorable attitude about innovation.


DECISION
Engagement in activities leading to adoption or not.


IMPLEMENTATION
Innovation is put to use.


CONFIRMATION
Reinforcement of decision is sought.



Figure 2. Stages in the innovation-decision process

Source: adapted from Rogers, 1983









41

provided useful answers regarding the source of their

awareness of perennial peanut. As indicated in

Table 2, 32.1% (9) found out about this innovation from

farmers with on-farm trials, 25.0% (7) first heard about it

from extension personnel, 21.4% (6) from other farmers,

14.3% (4) from printed media and the remaining 2 cited

other sources.



Table 2
Sources of farmer awareness of perennial peanut


Source of Awareness Number of Farmers Percent
of Perennial Peanut


Cooperators 9 32.1
Extension personnel 7 25.0
Other farmers 6 21.4
Printed media 4 14.3
Other 2 7.1

Total 28 100.0


Awareness of Perennial Peanut Trials



As can be determined in Table 3, only 11.5% (9) of the

farmers interviewed were aware of at least one specific

perennial peanut trial. Five and one-tenth percent (4)

were aware of 2 or more trials. Awareness of specific

trials appears to be quite low.








4

deciding whether or not to adopt them (Hildebrand, 1985).

Farmers who participate in on-farm technology trials are

frequently among the first to adopt the technology being

tested, assuming it was favorably evaluated (Hoque, 1984).

From the perspective of extension education, farmer

participatory on-farm trials which are conducted primarily

for research purposes can also provide a unique educational

forum for farmers.



On-Farm Trials and Farmer Communication



Numerous studies have underlined the importance of the

"grapevine" or farmer-to-farmer communication and the vital

role this exchange of information plays in adoption

decisions farmers make about new technology (Rogers, 1983).

It is likely that farmers who test technologies in on-farm

trials also discuss them with neighbors and other farmers.

This exchange of information may be a useful alternate

channel for spreading information about new technologies

through a farming community. Through farmer participation

and observation, on-farm trials in the farming systems

research and extension process can become an important

point of entry for new ideas and information into local

communication networks. Since FSR/E on-farm trials are

normally conducted on many farms throughout an area, they

can be an important method of information dissemination.








24

females was also found to be less than optimal. These

authors recommend that extensionists look for these and

other barriers to communication in local communities and

develop dissemination strategies which target relevant

groups separately.

Lionberger (1960) states that status differences

within a community may serve as barriers to communication.

Status, as used by Lionberger, is defined by the

perceptions of the population under study. Level of

education, level of income, land tenure, participation in

organizations, size of farm, and technical competency were

noted among those factors which might jointly determine

status in a given community.

If social distances attendant to status differences
are sufficiently great, communication on a
person-to-person basis may be slowed down or stopped.
This is likely to happen where class lines are
clearly drawn and where association tends to be
confined within class lines. (Lionberger, 1960, p.
87)




Result Demonstrations



A commonly given objective of a result demonstration

is to "furnish local proof of the recommended practice" to

farmers as performing better than their current practices

(Cook, 1966, p. 128). A result demonstration illustrates a

known practice, method or fact. Demonstrations are not

research oriented, but are carried out based on research








25

indicating that a given technology is appropriate (IFAS,

1985). Research recommendations are frequently made for

the case of the "average" farmer and farm. These

recommendations may not be appropriate for farmers with

differing resources, available management time, and goals,

which are but a few of the factors which may vary among

farms. It is important that extension agents adequately

question and evaluate the appropriateness of an innovation

for a given clientele before initiating a demonstration of

it.

A potential pitfall in the use of the demonstration

technique is the "necessity" of proving to farmers that a

recommended technology is superior to their current

practice. When conducting a result demonstration one may

be reluctant to have a failure in full view of the public.

Therefore, the extensionist may unwittingly produce a

superior environment in the demonstration plot which is

unmatchable by farmers with lesser resources to apply to

their considerably larger fields.

When using the demonstration technique, a change agent

must be fully cognizant of these potential shortcomings to

the approach. However, demonstrations when conducted with

care are very useful in extension work. As noted in the

Florida Agricultural Extension Agent Handbook, both

demonstrations and field test plots (on-farm trials) are











Table 3
Farmer awareness of specific perennial peanut trials


Number of Trials Number of Farmers Percent
Aware Of


0 69 88.5
1 5 6.4
2 or more 4 5.1

Total 78 100.0


Only 5 of the 31 cooperators (16.1%) were recognized

as having perennial peanut trials by the farmers who were

interviewed. Farmers were aware of only a very few of the

cooperating farmers who conducted perennial peanut trials

on their farms.



Objective 2



The second objective of this study involved

determining if an association exists between farmers'

awareness of on-farm trials and selected locational

characteristics of those trials. Farmers were aware of 5

trials and unaware of 24 others. Are some specific site

attributes related to whether or not local farmers are

aware of these particular trials and unaware of the others?

For each locational characteristic tested, Table 4

summarizes the number and percent of trials in each









43

category, the.p-value resulting from a two-tailed Fisher's

Exact Test for association and Cramer's V measure of the

strength of the relationship.



Table 4
Summary of tests of association between farmer awareness of
specific trials and selected trial locational characteristics


Trial Char- Response Known Unknown p-value* Cramer's
acteristic Category Trials Trials V


Present failure 1 (20.0%) 10 (41.7%) 0.622 0.186
status success 4 (80.0%) 14 (58.3%)

Duration short 1 (20.0%) 16 (66.7%) 0.130 -0.358
long 4 (80.0%) 8 (33.3%)

Road yes 2 (40.0%) 10 (41.7%) 1.000 -0.013
paved no 3 (60.0%) 14 (58.3%)

Main yes 1 (20.0%) 5 (20.8%) 1.000 -0.008
route no 4 (80.0%) 19 (79.2%)

Sign yes 2 (40.0%) 4 (16.7%) 0.269 0.218
no 3 (60.0%) 20 (83.3%)

Visible yes 2 (40.0%) 9 (37.5%) 1.000 0.019
from road no 3 (60.0%) 15 (62.5%)

Fence yes 4 (80.0%) 22 (91.7%) 0.446 -0.145
no 1 (20.0%) 2 ( 8.3%)

* Derived from two-tailed Fisher's Exact Test of association.


Whether or not the perennial peanut in a trial had

been successfully established was not found to be

associated with awareness of that trial by local farmers.

No significant association was noted between trial duration

in years and awareness. However, the percentages for this








44
variable in Table 4 indicate that farmers were somewhat

more likely to be aware of trials which had been in place

for more than three years than they for newer trials.

The "road paved" variable was included as a likely

indicator of the amount of travel on the road nearest the

trial. Farmer awareness of a trial was not associated with

whether or not the nearest road was paved. Another

indicator of the amount of travel on the road nearest the

trial was whether or not the road was a main, direct route

between two local communities. No association was found

between this variable and farmer awareness of trials.

Visibility of a trial was indicated by two variables

included here. The current presence or absence of a sign

placed along the road in front of farms with trials was the

original intent of the variable "sign". Because no signs

were currently found to be in place, the intent of this

variable was changed to whether or not a sign had ever been

erected to denote a particular trial. No association was

found between this variable and farmer awareness of a

particular trial. A second indicator of trial visibility

was whether or not a trial could actually be seen from the

road. No association was uncovered between visibility from

the road and farmer awareness of a particular trial.

The final variable included in Table 4 is the presence

or absence of a fence between the trial and the road, an

indicator of the ease of access to a particular trial.













Statement Of The Problem



In addition to fulfilling research objectives, a

program of on-farm trials might also be managed to enhance

distribution of information throughout an agricultural

community. To have a significant extension function,

information from on-farm trials must reach additional

farmers above and beyond the cooperators and initial farmer

participants and observers. To what extent do farmer

cooperators pass on information to other farmers regarding

the technologies they are testing in trials on their farms?

Empirical observations made by this writer tend to

support the idea that individual on-farm trials vary widely

in their effect on farmer awareness. To be able to

optimally conduct a series of on-farm trials with an

extension objective, as well as a research intent, one must

first be cognizant of the characteristics of on-farm trials

which tend to lead to greatest farmer awareness.



Purpose and Objectives



The central purpose of this study was to examine the

informational effects of five years of on-farm research

trials of perennial peanut forage (Arachis glabra Benth.)

among limited resource farmers in a two county area of













Statement Of The Problem



In addition to fulfilling research objectives, a

program of on-farm trials might also be managed to enhance

distribution of information throughout an agricultural

community. To have a significant extension function,

information from on-farm trials must reach additional

farmers above and beyond the cooperators and initial farmer

participants and observers. To what extent do farmer

cooperators pass on information to other farmers regarding

the technologies they are testing in trials on their farms?

Empirical observations made by this writer tend to

support the idea that individual on-farm trials vary widely

in their effect on farmer awareness. To be able to

optimally conduct a series of on-farm trials with an

extension objective, as well as a research intent, one must

first be cognizant of the characteristics of on-farm trials

which tend to lead to greatest farmer awareness.



Purpose and Objectives



The central purpose of this study was to examine the

informational effects of five years of on-farm research

trials of perennial peanut forage (Arachis glabra Benth.)

among limited resource farmers in a two county area of








26

appropriate methods for extension, each technique having

its particular role (1985, pp. XVII:1-9).

In a recent study of small farms extension programs in

the South, Ingram (1986) found that most information was

currently being disseminated through publications,

one-on-one contacts and through demonstration plots.

Program administrators indicated that these three

dissemination channels were the most effective methods of

information delivery to all segments of the small farms

audience. Bailey and Baird (1960) in their review of the

history of result demonstrations from 1900 to 1960 note a

number of successes, particularly the case of the Tennessee

Valley Authority program of test demonstration farms.

Experiences in the TVA program and elsewhere show that a

complex of factors influence the outcome of this extension

technique. Bailey (1964) specifies the characteristics of

the demonstration itself, of the demonstrator, of the

potential audience and of the community as important

factors affecting the effectiveness of demonstrations.



On-Farm Trials



Cosmopolite channels are those from outside the
social system being investigated; localite channels
about new ideas reach individuals from sources inside
their social system. (Rogers, 1983, p. 200)








27

Seen in this context, on-farm trials and

demonstrations fulfill the role of cosmopolite channels of

information. Once the information is introduced into the

social system through the trials, it is distributed through

localite channels, such as farmers speaking to other

farmers. Planned extension efforts such as field days, and

use of mass media channels, such as extension newsletters,

further enhance and complement this dissemination.

Not only do on-farm trials act to input new

information, ideas, and technology into a local area, they

also facilitate the individual innovation-decision process

of farmers. While a technology is being tested and adapted

to an area through on-farm work, farmers become aware of

it. Through direct participation and observation of the

trials farmers gain information about an innovation and how

it works (Hildebrand, 1985; Price, 1982). This combination

of experiential and observational learning (Wake, 1984)

gives farmers an opportunity to evaluate a technology, to

decide whether or not to adopt it, and a chance to acquire

the knowledge necessary to use it. By carefully monitoring

this learning process, farming systems practitioners can

gain valuable insights concerning the suitability of the

innovation. If it is not accepted by the farmers, the

innovation can be modified and further tested in on-farm

trials, or it is abandoned for more fruitful solutions to

the farm problems.








28

The farmer-cooperators who conduct trials on their

farm are purposely selected to represent different types of

farms and farmers. This allows an estimate of the

performance of technologies under widely varying

conditions. From the perspective of information

dissemination, Hildebrand states,

By conducting on-farm trials over a wide range of
environments and in all diffusion domains
[interpersonal communication networks] in a
community, FSR/E facilitates the process of obtaining
information and of receiving hands-on experience with
a technology. While a farmer is gaining information
about a technology, the technology can also be in the
process of adaptation to community conditions.
(1985, p. 9)


On-farm trials are oriented toward applied

agricultural research. Three types of trials are generally

recognized (see Figure 3). Exploratory trials are usually

located on only a few farms and are managed by the

researcher. These trials are used when searching for

possible solutions to a problem, therefore a number of

alternative technologies may be studied. These trials are

more complex in design than subsequent types of trials.






RESEARCH> EXPLORATORY > REFINEMENT > VERIFICATION > FARM
STATION TRIALS TRIALS TRIALS USE



Figure 3. Sequence for developing, evaluating and
delivering technologies to farmers.
Source: adapted from FSSP, 1985












Refinement trials are placed on a larger number of

farms to test and further adapt technologies which have

been selected for their superior responses during the

exploratory stage. In refinement trials, technologies are

tested over a wider set of farm environments. These trials

are generally implemented and managed jointly by the

researcher and the farmer cooperator and are somewhat

simpler in their design.

At the verification stage, trials are placed on an

even larger number of farms. The focus is upon one or a

few of the most promising technologies which have been

largely adapted to local conditions in the previous stages.

Verification trials are usually completely farmer-managed,

and evaluation of the technology by the cooperators

themselves determines whether it will be recommended, sent

back to the refinement stage for further modifications, or

abandoned. These trials are the simplest in design; each

on-farm trial location may have as few as two treatments

which consist of the farmer's current practice and the

refined technology (Farming Systems Support Project, 1985).

When using the on-farm trial technique, researchers

and extensionists move a technology through an iterative

series of stages, adapting and refining it to local

conditions until at the final stage the farmer-cooperators

evaluate it. The technology is not assumed to be









45

This variable was not significantly associated with farmer

awareness of particular trials.

For Objective 2, it can be concluded that no

significant difference exists between the locational

variables studied here and whether or not farmers were

aware of particular perennial peanut trials.



Objective 3



The third objective was to determine if an association

exists between farmers' awareness of perennial peanut

trials and selected characteristics of the cooperating

farmers who manage those trials. Local farmers were aware

of 5 cooperators and unaware of 24 others. Are the

cooperators which farmers were aware of different from the

rest of the cooperators? Table 5 summarizes the results of

two-way contingency tables for each variable and provides

the frequencies and percentages of cooperators in each

category, the p-value resulting from a two-tailed Fisher's

Exact Test for association and Cramer's V measure of the

strength of the relationship.

Gross farm income of cooperating farmers was used as

an indicator of socioeconomic status and relative

importance of farming to each household. Cooperating

farmers with higher farm gross incomes (greater than

$10,000) are less likely to be known as trial cooperators








46

than are those with lower gross farm incomes. Keeping

written farm records and maintaining farm cash flow

statements, both indicators of a farmer's management

intensity, are not associated with whether or not a

cooperating farmer is recognized by local farmers as having

trials.

At the 0.012 individual error level necessary to

maintain an overall error level of 0.10 for this series of

multiple comparisons, off-farm employment is not

significantly associated with whether or not cooperating

farmers are known as having trials. However an apparent

trend may be discerned in that a larger proportion of

cooperators who are unknown by farmers tend to be engaged

in off-farm employment. This suggests that cooperators who

have off-farm jobs have less time and opportunity for

interaction with other farmers, which may limit their

effectiveness in spreading information about a trial.

Farming experience is partially indicated by the

length of time a farmer has been engaged in farming. No

association was identified between years farming and

whether or not a cooperator was known by local farmers.

Cooperating farmers with more than 10 years farming

experience were not any more likely to be known as

cooperators than were those with fewer years experience.

The variable "years of residence" was not found to be

significantly associated with local recognition as a









47

cooperator. However, cooperating farmers with more than 10

years of residence on their farms were slightly more likely

to be known as cooperators than were those who were

relative newcomers to the area.



Table 5
Summary of tests of association between farmer awareness of
specific trials and selected cooperator attributes


Cooperator
Attribute


Response
Category


Known
Cooperator


Unknown
Cooperator


p-value*


Cramer's
V


Gross farm
income

Written
records

Cash flow
statement

Off-farm
workI

Years
farming

Residence


Age


Local
involvement

Other
trials


low
high

yes
no

yes
no

yes
no

few
many

short
long

younger
older

yes
no

yes
no


(80.0%)
(20.0%)

(80.0%)
(20.0%)

(40.0%)
(60.0%)

(20.0%)
(80.0%)

(20.0%)
(80.0%)

(20.0%)
(80.0%)

(20.0%)
(80.0%)

(40.0%)
(60.0%)

(100.0%)
(00.0%)


(45.8%)
(54.2%)

(73.9%)
(26.1%)

(26.1%)
(73.9%)

(70.8%)
(29.2%)

(33.3%)
(66.7$)

(54.2%)
(45.8%)

(29.2%)
(70.8%)

(41.7%)
(58.3%)

(45.8%)
(54.2%)


0.330


1.000


0.606


0.258


0.054


0.118


0.054 -0.396


1.000


-0.109


0.330 -0.258


1.000 -0.077


1.000


0.048


-0.013


0.411


* Derived from two-tailed Fisher's Exact test


for association.


Age of farmer-cooperators was not associated with

whether or not other farmers recognized them as conducting


--









48

trials. Cooperators with fewer than 40 years of age were

just as likely to be recognized as such as were older

cooperators.

Participation by farmers or their spouses in local

agricultural organizations was used as an indicator of

their degree of formal interaction in the local farming

community. No association was noted between local

involvement of cooperators and whether or not other farmers

were aware that they were conducting perennial peanut

trials.

At the 0.012 level necessary to maintain an overall

error level of 0.10 for this multiple comparison, farmer

awareness of individual cooperators was not significantly

associated with whether or not the cooperating farmers

conducted additional trials with other crops. However, it

is apparent from the percentages given at the bottom of

Table 5 that farmers who had other trials in addition to

the perennial peanut trials were more likely to be

recognized as cooperators. Local farmers were more likely

to be aware of the perennial peanut trials managed by

cooperators who conduct other trials as well. An obvious

reason for this trend may be that farmers had a greater

chance of finding out about at least one of the trials and

then were exposed to the others while visiting or

discussing the initial one. However, there may be some

third factor responsible for why farmers were aware









6

North Central Florida. A secondary purpose was to

determine characteristics of on-farm trials which are

related to enhanced awareness held by local farmers of the

trials and technology being tested. The following

objectives were developed to accomplish these purposes:

1. Examine the extent of awareness by local

limited resource farmers of specific on-farm

perennial peanut research trials.

2. Determine if there was an association between

farmers' awareness of on-farm trials and specific

site location characteristics of those trials.

3. Determine if there was an association between

farmers' awareness of on-farm trials and selected

attributes of the farmer cooperators who manage

those trials.

4. Determine if farmers who were unaware of the trials

were different from farmers who were aware of them.



Need For The Study



The farming systems approach has resulted in the

development of locally adapted, appropriate technologies

for specified farmers in many worldwide settings. Even

though it is recognized that farmer participatory on-farm

research is the beginning of farming systems technology

delivery efforts, this aspect has received scant attention.









7

Price (1982) notes that "the formalization of this direct

flow of information" from on-farm trials to the farmer has

not been carried out, and the role of on-farm research in

imparting information to farmers is still imperfectly

understood.

According to Lionberger (1986), the extension function

in farming systems has been neglected. While noting the

effectiveness of this approach in bringing together

researchers and farmers, Lionberger cautions that decision-

makers will consider it as a costly venture unless special

efforts are made to increase the number of people

ultimately reached. Likewise, other writers have urged

farming systems practitioners to place greater emphasis on

improving delivery of adapted technologies so as to reach a

large portion of the targeted farmer audience, and even

other farmers with similar farming systems where the same

technologies might also be useful (Kellogg, Butler,

Compton, Swisher, and Johnson, 1984; Woeste, 1984).

Because on-farm trials are already an integral part of

farming systems methodology, managing them to provide the

additional benefit of enhanced technology delivery would be

an efficient use of existing resources. By locating

on-farm trials with respect to interpersonal communication

networks in an area, farmer-to-farmer communication about

trials and technology could potentially reach a great

number of individuals. The efficiency and effectiveness of








8

the investment in research and extension could be improved

by technology delivery efforts which begin by strengthening

the link between interpersonal communication among farmers

and local on-farm trials.

The use of on-farm trials is recognized as an

appropriate and useful method for the Cooperative Extension

Service. As noted in the Agricultural Extension Agent

Handbook, "appropriate use of exploratory and adaptive

tests can materially strengthen most county extension

programs." (Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, 1985

Vol. 2, p. XVII-4).

This study of the informational effects of on-farm

research will be of value in refining the use of trials in

research and extension programs, particularly for the North

Florida Farming Systems Research and Extension Project, the

Suwannee and Columbia County Cooperative Extension

Services, and other rural North Florida extension efforts.

The findings of this study will enhance future, more

comprehensive efforts made by extensionists and other

farming systems practitioners to refine efficient and

effective methodologies for technology delivery which begin

during on-farm adaptive research activities.








52

the meetings provide a forum for extension personnel to

reach farmers with new ideas, or both.



Additional Analyses



The four original objectives of this study have been

covered in the preceding pages of this chapter. The

following additional analyses were undertaken in an attempt

to determine why there was such limited awareness of the

trials among local farmers.



Cooperators and Unaware Farmers Compared



Why was awareness of the trials so low? Were the

farmers who were not aware of the trials very different

from the cooperating farmers, possibly resulting in limited

communication between the two groups? There were 69

farmers who were not aware of the trials and 29 cooperating

farmers. Table 7 summarizes the results of two-way

contingency tables for each variable and provides the

frequencies and percentages of farmers in each category,

the p-value resulting from Pearson's chi-square test of

association and Cramer's V measure of the strength of the

relationship.

Clearly, no real differences are noted between the two

groups related to off-farm employment, years farming,








52

the meetings provide a forum for extension personnel to

reach farmers with new ideas, or both.



Additional Analyses



The four original objectives of this study have been

covered in the preceding pages of this chapter. The

following additional analyses were undertaken in an attempt

to determine why there was such limited awareness of the

trials among local farmers.



Cooperators and Unaware Farmers Compared



Why was awareness of the trials so low? Were the

farmers who were not aware of the trials very different

from the cooperating farmers, possibly resulting in limited

communication between the two groups? There were 69

farmers who were not aware of the trials and 29 cooperating

farmers. Table 7 summarizes the results of two-way

contingency tables for each variable and provides the

frequencies and percentages of farmers in each category,

the p-value resulting from Pearson's chi-square test of

association and Cramer's V measure of the strength of the

relationship.

Clearly, no real differences are noted between the two

groups related to off-farm employment, years farming,








53

length of local residence and farmer age. A significant

difference between cooperators and farmers who were unaware

of the trials was detected in their patterns of involvement

in local agricultural organizations. This is a moderately

strong relationship as indicated by the Cramer's V value of

0.255. Cooperators were more likely to be involved in farm

organizations than were farmers who were unaware of the

perennial peanut trials. This suggests that cooperators

may tend to be active seekers of farm information while

farmers who were unaware of trials may be more passive in

this respect.

Although, not statistically significant at the 0.013

individual error level necessary to maintain an overall

error level of 0.10 for this group of comparisons, some

differences between the two groups can also be observed in

gross farm income, keeping written records and maintaining

a farm cash flow statement. Proportionally more

cooperators had higher gross farm incomes and kept written

records and farm cash flow statements than did farmers who

were unaware of the trials.

Taken together, these trends could indicate that many

farmers who were unaware of trials consider farming to be

only a secondary economic activity, while more cooperators

may consider their farm activities to be an important

source of family income. Farmers who consider their

farming activities to be of lesser importance are not









54

likely to place strong emphasis on changing or improving

their techniques or upon acquiring the latest farm

information to do so.



Table 7
Summary of tests of difference between farmers who were not
aware of trials and cooperating farmers


Farmer Response Unaware p-value* Cramer's
Attribute Category Cooperator Farmer V


Gross farm low 15 (51.7%) 46 (73.0%) 0.045 -0.209
income high 14 (48.3%) 17 (27.0%)

Written yes 21 (75.0%) 34 (49.3%) 0.021 0.235
records no 7 (25.0%) 35 (50.7%)

Cash flow yes 8 (28.6%) 8 (11.6%) 0.041 0.207
statement no 20 (71.4%) 61 (88.4%)

Off-farm yes 18 (62.1%) 37 (55.2%) 0.534 0.064
work no 11 (37.9%) 30 (44.8%)

Years few 9 (31.0%) 13 (18.8%) 0.187 0.133
farming many 20 (69.0%) 56 (81.2%)

Residence short 14 (48.3%) 26 (37.7%) 0.330 0.098
long 15 (51.7%) 43 (62.3%)

Age younger 8 (27.6%) 12 (17.4%) 0.253 0.115
older 12 (72.4%) 57 (82.6%)

Local yes 12 (41.4%) 12 (17.4%) 0.012 0.255
involvement no 17 (58.6%) 57 (82.6%)

* Derived from Pearson's chi-square test of association.



For this comparison, no strong differences were found

which point to reasons for limited communication between

the two types of farmers. However, farmers who were

unaware of the trials tended to have limited involvement








55

in local farm groups. This suggests that they may not be

active seekers of farm information which may partially

account for their lack of awareness of the perennial peanut

trials.



Promotion of Trials and Farmer Awareness



Why is awareness of the trials so low? To what extent

were efforts made to actively promote farmer awareness of

specific perennial peanut trials? Are these efforts

associated with increased farmer awareness of the trials?

Farmer awareness of perennial peanut trials was

significantly associated with contact with FSR/E program

personnel and with other extension people as shown in

Table 8. The Cramer's V value of 0.363 indicates a

moderately strong positive relationship. Most of the

farmers who were aware of the trials had contacted or been

contacted by the extension service during the last year.



Table 8
Contact with extension by farmer awareness of trials


Extension Aware Unaware p-value* Cramer's
Contact Farmers Farmers V


Yes 8 ( 88.9%) 23 ( 33.3%) 0.002 0.363
No 1 ( 11.1%) 46 ( 66.7%)

Total 9 (100.0%) 69 (100.0%)

* Derived from two-tailed Fisher's Exact Test.








56

However, a full third of the farmers who were not

aware of the trials also had recent contact with extension.

In fact, only 8 of all 31 farmers who indicated they had

any contact with extension were even aware of the perennial

peanut trials. This suggests that the informational effect

of on-farm trials might be improved by more frequently

mentioning particular trials during contacts with farmers

and by specifically inviting farmers to visit farms with

trials.

A review of the program newsletter "Suwannee Valley

Farming" shows mentions of perennial peanut in almost every

issue. Two special editions are devoted solely to

perennial peanut. Readers are invited to visit the trial

plots of this forage crop at the Live Oak AREC and at the

local county extension offices, but no specific on-farm

trials or farmers testing perennial peanut are mentioned.

However, invitations to visit specific on-farm wheat

grazing and overseeding trials are given along with

directions to each cooperator's farm. Similar mentions

would likely have enhanced farmer awareness of perennial

peanut trials. Table 9 shows no association between farmer

awareness of trials and whether or not they received local

extension newsletters.











Table 9
Receiving extension newsletters by awareness of trials


Receive Aware Unaware p-value* Cramer's
Newsletter Farmers Farmers V


Yes 5 ( 55.6%) 30 ( 43.5%) 0.724 0.078
No 4 ( 44.4%) 39 ( 56.5%)

Total 9 (100.0%) 69 (100.0%)

* Derived from two-tailed Fisher's Exact Test of
association.


Local newspaper articles written about the FSR/E

program from 1982 to 1986 mention perennial peanut five

times and give the names of six cooperating farmers who

have on-farm trials. Table 10 shows no association between

farmer awareness of specific cooperators and the appearance

of their names in these articles. The newspaper coverage

may or may not have been successful in getting the word out

about perennial peanut, but it made no difference in

informing farmers about specific on-farm trials which they

could visit for a first-hand look at this crop.

Originally, signs were set up in front of many farms

where perennial peanut was being tested to indicate the

presence of a trial. One page handouts explaining the

experiment at each location were also left at several sites

for farmers to pick up. The handouts were discontinued

soon afterward because of difficulties in protecting them

from the weather. Recent visits to most of the perennial









58

peanut trials found no signs left standing. This may

partially account for the finding of no significant

association between the presence of a sign and farmers'

awareness of particular trials (Table 4).




Table 10
Mention in newspaper by farmer awareness of
specific cooperators


Newspaper Known Unknown p-value* Cramer's
Mention Cooperator Cooperator V


Yes 1 ( 20.0%) 5 ( 20.8%) 1.000 -0.008
No 4 ( 80.0%) 19 ( 79.2%)

Total 5 (100.0%) 24 (100.0%)

* Derived from two-tailed Fisher's Exact Test of
association.


Records on perennial peanut field days were not

available for review. One field day is noted in a

newspaper article and it is known that several others were

held. Two farmers who were interviewed indicated they had

become aware of specific trials by participating in a field

day.








49

of a certain cooperator, and why program personnel selected

that cooperator for multiple trials.

Overall, it can be concluded that no statistically

significant association exists between the cooperator

characteristics included here and whether or not local

farmers were aware of particular perennial peanut trials

managed by those cooperators. No significant difference

exists between cooperators known by local farmers and those

not known on the basis of the variables tested here.

However, several apparent trends are noted; local farmers

are more likely to know about trials conducted by

cooperators who have more than one trial and who have

resided locally for a longer period of time. Also, farmers

are less likely to know about the trials conducted by

cooperating farmers who have off-farm employment.



Objective 4



The fourth objective was to determine whether farmers

who were aware of the trials differed from farmers who were

not aware. Nine farmers were aware of specific perennial

peanut trials and 69 were not. Table 6 shows results of

two-way contingency tables for each variable and gives the

frequencies and percentages of farmers in each category,

the p-value from a two-tailed Fisher's Exact Test for








50

association and Cramer's V measure of the strength of the

relationship.

At the 0.013 individual error level necessary to

maintain an overall error level of 0.10 for this group of

comparisons, no significant differences were detected

between the two groups of farmers, related to the variables

tested here. Nevertheless, two apparent trends can be

observed in Table 6.



Table 6
Summary of tests of difference between farmers who were aware
of specific trials and farmers who were not aware


Farmer Response Aware Unaware p-value* Cramer's
Attribute Category Farmer Farmer V


Gross farm low 4 (44.4%) 46 (73.0%) 0.121 -0.205
income high 5 (55.6%) 17 (27.0%)

Written yes 6 (66.7%) 34 (49.3%) 0.482 0.111
records no 3 (33.3%) 35 (50.7%)

Cash flow yes 4 (44.4%) 8 (11.6%) 0.028 0.291
statement no 5 (55.6%) 61 (88.4%)

Off-farm yes 5 (55.6%) 37 (55.2%) 1.000 0.002
work no 4 (44.4%) 30 (44.8%)

Years few 2 (22.2%) 13 (18.8%) 1.000 0.027
farming many 7 (77.8%) 56 (81.2%)

Residence short 4 (44.4%) 26 (37.7%) 0.727 0.044
long 5 (55.6%) 43 (62.3%)

Age younger 1 (11.1%) 12 (17.4%) 1.000 -0.054
older 8 (88.9%) 57 (82.6%)

Local yes 5 (59.6%) 12 (17.4%) 0.020 0.295
involvement no 4 (44.4%) 57 (82.6%)

* Derived from two-tailed Fisher's Exact test for association.












Farmers who were unaware of the trials tended to be

those who did not maintain cash flow statements for their

farm. This relationship might be considered spurious.

However, maintaining a cash flow statement can be

considered as a partial indicator of a farmer's management

intensity. Part of management entails seeking information

for decision making. This trend could indicate that

farmers who invested greater time and effort in closely

managing their farm activities were also more likely to

actively search for farm information and new ideas which

might be of use to them. This would probably lead to

greater awareness of the perennial peanut trials as well as

to knowledge of other farming innovations.

The other noticeable, though not statistically

significant, trend in Table 6 is related to farmer and

spouse involvement in local agricultural organizations such

as Farm Bureau, 4-H and various fair committees and support

groups. A much larger proportion of farmers who were not

aware of the perennial peanut trials were also not involved

in any local agricultural organizations. This indicates

that one local conduit through which agricultural

information may flow among local farmers is tied to local

farm organizations. This may be because the meetings of

these organizations provide a setting for farmers to get

together informally and exchange information, or because








20

information which is then diffused within the local social

system through interpersonal exchanges among local people

as well as by further mass media efforts. However, it is

necessary to be aware of the varying use of different

communication channels by subgroups within an agricultural

social system. Effective change agents must use this

knowledge to tailor information dissemination strategies

for different types of farmers and non-farming clientele

(Allen, 1985).



Communication Networks


Farmers typically back away from interaction with
outside change agents and discuss an innovation among
themselves before adopting or rejecting it. Such
farmers have communication networks among themselves
that are based on interpersonal relationships .
The fact that farmers have an indigenous knowledge
system and communicative structures through which it
is spread suggests that extension workers might
do well to learn about them. (Compton, 1984, p. 82)


A communication network is defined by Rogers (1983) as

consisting "of interconnected individuals who are linked by

patterned flows of information" (p. 194).

Interconnectedness refers to the degree to which

individuals in a social system are linked by interpersonal

networks. The more closely and regularly individuals in a

communication network interact with one another, the more

rapidly information will flow through the network.

"Communication proximity is the degree to which two linked








31

Members of the farmer-audience gathered further

information (after initial awareness) about the

demonstrations through the following sources;

78% talked to the demonstrator
55% saw a sign by the road
23% talked to someone other than demonstrator
25% attended a meeting
16% visited a plot
(1962, p. 12)


These figures indicate an information effect upon local

farmers much greater than that measured solely by the

number of farmers participating in field days.

It can be inferred that several locational

characteristics of an on-farm trial might affect farmer

awareness of it. Most obvious would be the presence of a

sign denoting the trial. Related to this is visibility of

the trial to passers-by from a public road. Bailey (1964)

mentions that placement of a demonstration [or trial] along

a heavily traveled road leading to a town would likely

enhance its effect on farmer awareness.



Cooperating Farmecs And Information Diffusion



Rogers and Leuthold noted that demonstrators,

(selected by the county agronomy committee), had higher

social status, higher education, a greater tendency to

participate in formal groups, and were generally more

progressive than the general farmer population of the study









32

area. Farmers who communicated more with the demonstrators

also tended to be of higher status and innovativeness than

the average farmer in the county. They comment,

People generally tend to communicate and associate
with others of similar attitudes, values, and
characteristics. High status farmers tended to
communicate with high status demonstrators .
One obvious implication of the tendency for persons
to associate with others like themselves is the need
to secure demonstrators at each status level,
educational level, etc. (1962, p. 23)


According to Bailey (1964), demonstrators who were

most effective in a study in Mississippi were also those

who were most similar to their neighbors. Demonstrators of

markedly higher or lower socioeconomic status than their

neighbors tended to be least effective in influencing

awareness and adoption.

On a contrary note, Westermarck (1981) found in

Finland that farmers do not look to similar farmers for

agricultural information but to local farming "experts" of

higher prestige and status. He explains, "Farmers are

quite selective in choosing their farmer informants. They

are ready to seek competent advice on farming decisions

further away than their closest neighbors with whom they

most often have discussions" (1981, p. 315). The

informational effects of Finnish demonstration farmers were

lowest among nearest neighbors, with greater effects

further from their place of residence. However, in

Mississippi, Bailey (1964) found demonstrators to be more









33
effective when they and their audience were members of the

same community or locality. Cultural differences between

the populations studied may contribute to the different

results. These studies, although conflicting in their

findings, suggest that the characteristics of demonstrators

(or cooperators) influence which types of farmers receive

the most informational benefit from an on-farm trial or a

demonstration.









30

appropriate until receiving a positive evaluation by the

cooperators and until it is finally adopted.

The emphasis of this study is upon the verification

stage of the on-farm trial sequence. At this point, the

technologies being tested are most adapted to local

conditions, work is carried out on a relatively large

number of farms, and the trials are managed by the farmers

themselves.



Farmer Awareness And Site Characteristics



A 1962 study by Rogers and Leuthold of a fertilizer

demonstration program in Ohio and its effect upon diffusion

of information in the surrounding farm community found that

70% (55 of 77) of the local farmers were aware of the

program. 28% of the farmers first became aware of the

demonstrations by seeing a road sign, 22% by talking

directly to a demonstrator, and 16% by personally visiting

the demonstration site. Members of the audience (other

farmers in the same county) tended to communicate with

demonstrators who lived within an average of 4 miles from

their residence. A slight tendency was noted for farmers

to be more aware of demonstrations located close to more

frequently traveled roads.













On-Farm Trials as Tools for Extension



Conducting adaptive research on the farm is also the

beginning of the extension delivery process (Coughenour and

Nazhat, 1985; Hildebrand, 1985). Involvement of farmer

cooperators in the planting and management of on-farm

trials is a potential learning experience for them as well

as for the farming systems team. Ideally, as many local

farmers as possible are invited to participate, or at least

to observe the on-farm trial and its results. Price

comments, "An incidental feature of on-farm research is

that farmers see, indeed participate in, experimental

trials in their villages, and may adopt techniques before

[formal] extension takes place" (1982, p. 107).

Because of close involvement by farmers, on-farm

trials can be an effective means of complementing other

extension education methods such as meetings, newsletters,

mass media, and demonstrations in getting the word out

about new technologies and practices. In the farming

systems approach, farmers' evaluations of technologies

determine whether they are deemed appropriate and

recommended for dissemination. Active participation by

farmers in on-farm research ensures that the end product is

appropriate for their situations and offers them an

opportunity to test and observe new technologies before
















CHAPTER V

SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS



This chapter provides a review of the research

objectives and procedure followed in this study. The

findings are then summarized and conclusions are derived

concerning the limited resource farmers and trial

cooperators who were interviewed. Recommendations are

given for further research and for conducting on-farm

trials with the additional purpose of increasing farmer

awareness of innovations being tested.



Summary



The central purpose of this study was to examine the

informational effects of five years of on-farm research

trials of perennial peanut forage (Arachis glabra Benth.)

among limited resource farmers in a two county area of

North Central Florida. A secondary purpose was to

determine characteristics of on-farm trials which are

related to enhanced awareness held by local farmers of the

trials and technology being tested. The following

objectives were developed to accomplish these purposes:

59
















CHAPTER V

SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS



This chapter provides a review of the research

objectives and procedure followed in this study. The

findings are then summarized and conclusions are derived

concerning the limited resource farmers and trial

cooperators who were interviewed. Recommendations are

given for further research and for conducting on-farm

trials with the additional purpose of increasing farmer

awareness of innovations being tested.



Summary



The central purpose of this study was to examine the

informational effects of five years of on-farm research

trials of perennial peanut forage (Arachis glabra Benth.)

among limited resource farmers in a two county area of

North Central Florida. A secondary purpose was to

determine characteristics of on-farm trials which are

related to enhanced awareness held by local farmers of the

trials and technology being tested. The following

objectives were developed to accomplish these purposes:

59












1. Examine the extent of awareness by local limited

resource farmers of specific on-farm perennial

peanut research trials.

2. Determine if there was an association between

farmers' awareness and specific site location

attributes of the on-farm perennial peanut trials.

3. Determine if there was an association between

farmers' awareness of trials and specific

characteristics of the cooperating farmers.

4. Determine if farmers who were unaware of the trials

differed from farmers who were aware of them.



The information for this study was obtained through

personal interviews of limited resource farmers and of

cooperating farmers who conducted perennial peanut trials

on their farms. The survey instrument was based on a

similar instrument used in the area of study during 1984.

It was field tested and resultant modifications were made.

Interviews were completed with 29 (94%) of the 31 perennial

peanut cooperators and with 78 (57%) of the 138 limited

resource farmers who were contacted.

The data were analyzed for the first objective using

frequencies and percentages. The remaining objectives were

accomplished using two-way contingency tables and Fisher's

Exact or Pearson's chi-square tests of association. The








9

Definition Of Terms


Awareness refers to recognition of the existence of an

idea, object, practice or person. This study focuses on

farmers' initial awareness of perennial peanut trials.

A technology, in the broad sense, is an object,

practice or idea which can be used to achieve a given end.

A technology commonly consists of physical objects along

with a conceptual idea and knowledge of how to use them.

An innovation is a an object, practice or idea which is

perceived as new by someone.

Researchers are investigators who employ the

scientific method to seek out new knowledge and ways of

doing things. Basic researchers conduct their

investigations with the sole purpose of acquiring new

knowledge. Applied researchers use this knowledge to solve

specific problems, often through the development of new

technologies. Extensionists are educators and agents of

change who use nonformal methods of instruction to teach

and inform primarily rural audiences about improved

practices and ideas.

A farming system is an interrelated and interacting

arrangement of farming enterprises that a household manages

according to well defined practices in response to

physical, biological and socioeconomic conditions in









10

accordance with household goals, and resources (Shaner,

Philipp, and Schmehl, 1982).

Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSR/E) is an

approach to technology generation, evaluation, and

delivery. It is applied, farmer oriented, agro-biological

research, supported by the socioeconomic sciences in a team

effort including extension responsibilities (Hildebrand and

Waugh, 1983).

Farmer-cooperators are persons actively participating

in on-farm research on their own land. The research may be

managed by the researcher, jointly managed by the

researcher and farmer, or completely farmer-managed.

An on-farm trial is an experiment designed to test the

response of an agricultural technology under actual farm

conditions. For the sake of simplicity, on-farm trial is

used here to denote an experiment, or part of an

experiment, which is placed in a specific farmer's field.

In an on-farm verification trial, the technology has been

successfully tested under local conditions, and is being

verified over a wider range of farms prior to being

recommended.









61

analysis was conducted using the Statistical Analysis

System (SAS) software on a personal computer.



Findings

The statistical analysis yielded the following

findings:



Objective 1



1. Only 9 (11.5%) of the 78 limited resource farmers

interviewed were aware of specific on-farm

perennial peanut trials. Farmer awareness of the

trials was minimal.



2. Only 5 (16.1%) of the 31 cooperators were known by

other farmers as having perennial peanut trials on

their farms. Very few cooperating farmers were

recognized by other farmers as having perennial

peanut trials on their farms.



Objective 2



3. No significant association was detected between

farmer awareness of trials and the following trial

locational variables: success or failure of trial,

duration in years, presence of a sign, visibility









61

analysis was conducted using the Statistical Analysis

System (SAS) software on a personal computer.



Findings

The statistical analysis yielded the following

findings:



Objective 1



1. Only 9 (11.5%) of the 78 limited resource farmers

interviewed were aware of specific on-farm

perennial peanut trials. Farmer awareness of the

trials was minimal.



2. Only 5 (16.1%) of the 31 cooperators were known by

other farmers as having perennial peanut trials on

their farms. Very few cooperating farmers were

recognized by other farmers as having perennial

peanut trials on their farms.



Objective 2



3. No significant association was detected between

farmer awareness of trials and the following trial

locational variables: success or failure of trial,

duration in years, presence of a sign, visibility









61

analysis was conducted using the Statistical Analysis

System (SAS) software on a personal computer.



Findings

The statistical analysis yielded the following

findings:



Objective 1



1. Only 9 (11.5%) of the 78 limited resource farmers

interviewed were aware of specific on-farm

perennial peanut trials. Farmer awareness of the

trials was minimal.



2. Only 5 (16.1%) of the 31 cooperators were known by

other farmers as having perennial peanut trials on

their farms. Very few cooperating farmers were

recognized by other farmers as having perennial

peanut trials on their farms.



Objective 2



3. No significant association was detected between

farmer awareness of trials and the following trial

locational variables: success or failure of trial,

duration in years, presence of a sign, visibility









62

of the trial from the road, type of road surface,

whether or not the road directly connects two

communities, and presence of a fence between the

trial and the road.



4. Although not statistically significant, farmers

tended to be more aware of trials which had been in

place for a longer period of time.



Objective 3



5. No significant association was found between farmer

awareness of specific trials and the following

characteristics of the cooperators who managed

those trials; gross farm income, keeping written

records, maintaining a cash flow statement, off-

farm employment, years farming, length of

residence, age, local involvement and whether or

not the cooperator had additional trials with other

crops.



6. Although not statistically significant, a tendency

was observed for greater farmer awareness of

cooperators who did not have off-farm employment,

who had resided locally for longer periods of time









63

and who had other trials in addition to perennial

peanut.



Objective 4



7. No significant difference was noted between farmers

who were aware of the trials and farmers who were

not aware, on the basis of the following variables:

gross farm income, keeping written records,

maintaining a cash flow statement, off-farm

employment, years farming, length of residence, age

and involvement in local farm groups.



8. Although not statistically significant, farmers who

were aware of the trials tended to be more involved

in local farm organizations and to more frequently

have cash flow statements for their farm operations

than did farmers who were unaware of the trials.



Additional Findings



9. Farmers who were unaware of the trials differed

significantly from cooperators in their involvement

in local farm organizations. Unaware farmers were

less likely to participate in local farm

organizations.









63

and who had other trials in addition to perennial

peanut.



Objective 4



7. No significant difference was noted between farmers

who were aware of the trials and farmers who were

not aware, on the basis of the following variables:

gross farm income, keeping written records,

maintaining a cash flow statement, off-farm

employment, years farming, length of residence, age

and involvement in local farm groups.



8. Although not statistically significant, farmers who

were aware of the trials tended to be more involved

in local farm organizations and to more frequently

have cash flow statements for their farm operations

than did farmers who were unaware of the trials.



Additional Findings



9. Farmers who were unaware of the trials differed

significantly from cooperators in their involvement

in local farm organizations. Unaware farmers were

less likely to participate in local farm

organizations.








64

10. Although not statistically significant, farmers who

were not aware of the trials tended to have lower

gross farm incomes and less frequently kept written

records or farm cash flow statements than did the

cooperators.



11. The two groups did not differ significantly on the

basis of off-farm employment, years farming, length

of residence and age, nor were any clear trends

apparent among these variables.



12. Farmer awareness of specific trials was positively

associated with contact with extension personnel.



13. Only a third of those farmers who indicated contact

with extension during the past year were aware of

specific perennial peanut trials.



14. Regularly receiving a local extension newsletter

was not associated with farmer awareness of

specific perennial peanut trials.



15. Local newspaper coverage of the perennial peanut

program had no effect on farmer awareness of

specific on-farm trials.








65

Conclusions



The following conclusions were drawn from the findings

of this study:



Objective 1



1. Although the on-farm trials served their primary

research function, they were not effective in

increasing awareness of perennial peanut among

local farmers. The informational effect of the on-

farm perennial peanut trials was limited at best.



Objective 2



2. Farmer awareness of the trials was not

significantly associated with any of the trial

locational variables included in this study. This

contrasts with Rogers and Leuthold (1962), Bailey

(1964), and others who have found similar

locational characteristics of demonstrations to be

associated with farmer awareness of them.








65

Conclusions



The following conclusions were drawn from the findings

of this study:



Objective 1



1. Although the on-farm trials served their primary

research function, they were not effective in

increasing awareness of perennial peanut among

local farmers. The informational effect of the on-

farm perennial peanut trials was limited at best.



Objective 2



2. Farmer awareness of the trials was not

significantly associated with any of the trial

locational variables included in this study. This

contrasts with Rogers and Leuthold (1962), Bailey

(1964), and others who have found similar

locational characteristics of demonstrations to be

associated with farmer awareness of them.








65

Conclusions



The following conclusions were drawn from the findings

of this study:



Objective 1



1. Although the on-farm trials served their primary

research function, they were not effective in

increasing awareness of perennial peanut among

local farmers. The informational effect of the on-

farm perennial peanut trials was limited at best.



Objective 2



2. Farmer awareness of the trials was not

significantly associated with any of the trial

locational variables included in this study. This

contrasts with Rogers and Leuthold (1962), Bailey

(1964), and others who have found similar

locational characteristics of demonstrations to be

associated with farmer awareness of them.










Objective 3



3. Farmer awareness of the trials was not

significantly associated with any of the cooperator

characteristics included in this study. However,

farmers appear more likely to be aware of trials

where cooperators do not work off the farm, have

resided locally for longer periods, and where they

conduct other trials in addition to perennial

peanut. The importance of length of residence in

this setting is supported by the incorporation of

this factor into a small farmer typology used in

the North Florida program (Schmidt, 1984).



4. Farmers who were aware of the trials tended to be

more involved in local farm groups and appear to

invest more time and effort in record-keeping

aspects of managing their farms. This agrees with

many diffusion studies which relate local

involvement with awareness, and level of management

with information-seeking behavior (Rogers, 1983).



5. An important channel for acquiring agricultural

information for some limited resource farmers may

be through involvement in local farm groups. The

meetings may provide a setting for farmers to








67

informally exchange information as well as a way

for extension personnel and others to reach farmers

with new ideas.



Objective 4



6. Farmers who were not aware of the trials were

significantly less involved in local farm

organizations than were the cooperating farmers.



7. Farmers who were not aware of the trials appeared

to spend less effort on record-keeping aspects of

farm management and to have lower gross farm

incomes than did the cooperators.



8. No strong differences were uncovered which might

indicate barriers to interpersonal communication

between farmers who were not aware of the trials

and cooperators. Nevertheless, communication

between these two groups concerning the trials

apparently was minimal.



Additional Conclusions



9. Farmer awareness of the trials was significantly

associated with contact with extension personnel.








67

informally exchange information as well as a way

for extension personnel and others to reach farmers

with new ideas.



Objective 4



6. Farmers who were not aware of the trials were

significantly less involved in local farm

organizations than were the cooperating farmers.



7. Farmers who were not aware of the trials appeared

to spend less effort on record-keeping aspects of

farm management and to have lower gross farm

incomes than did the cooperators.



8. No strong differences were uncovered which might

indicate barriers to interpersonal communication

between farmers who were not aware of the trials

and cooperators. Nevertheless, communication

between these two groups concerning the trials

apparently was minimal.



Additional Conclusions



9. Farmer awareness of the trials was significantly

associated with contact with extension personnel.









68



10. Extension newsletters, newspaper coverage and trial

signs were not used to full advantage in increasing

farmer awareness of specific perennial peanut

trials.



11. On-farm trials were not actively used by the

program to increase farmers' awareness and

knowledge of perennial peanut. Much greater

emphasis was placed on the use of printed media and

other extension techniques to disseminate

information about this new forage crop.



Recommendations



Based on the findings and conclusions drawn from this

study and upon impressions acquired by the researcher

during the investigation, the following recommendations for

managing on-farm trials, for extension efforts to promote

trials and the technologies being tested, and for further

research are set forth:



On-Farm Trials



1. To gain full benefits from the investment in on-

farm research trials conducted to verify









68



10. Extension newsletters, newspaper coverage and trial

signs were not used to full advantage in increasing

farmer awareness of specific perennial peanut

trials.



11. On-farm trials were not actively used by the

program to increase farmers' awareness and

knowledge of perennial peanut. Much greater

emphasis was placed on the use of printed media and

other extension techniques to disseminate

information about this new forage crop.



Recommendations



Based on the findings and conclusions drawn from this

study and upon impressions acquired by the researcher

during the investigation, the following recommendations for

managing on-farm trials, for extension efforts to promote

trials and the technologies being tested, and for further

research are set forth:



On-Farm Trials



1. To gain full benefits from the investment in on-

farm research trials conducted to verify









69

technologies, field researchers and extensionists

should plan as carefully for the informational

effects of the trials as they do for the research

objectives.



2. Interpersonal communication between cooperators and

other farmers concerning the perennial peanut on-

farm trials appears to have been minimal and

ineffective in getting the message out. In this

setting, interpersonal communication between

cooperators and other farmers cannot be solely

relied upon to spread information about trials.

Future management of the on-farm trial aspect of

the program should include active, coordinated

efforts to make farmers aware of the trials and

knowledgeable about their outcomes. Signs should

once again be placed by trials in view of the road.

Specific trials and cooperators should be mentioned

when possible in local newsletters and newspapers.

Additional field days and tours need to be held.



3. Trials should continue to be located with

cooperators who are similar to the intended

audience to ensure optimal interpersonal

communication (Rogers 1983), but cooperators who do

not work off-farm should be favored.










Extension Efforts



4. Much time and work has been invested in conducting

on-farm research trials throughout the area.

Extension efforts should take advantage of the on-

farm trials as another technique, which if properly

managed, will contribute to improved farmer

awareness of innovations.



5. Limited resource farmers who know about perennial

peanut trials tend to be involved in local farm

groups. To increase their awareness of perennial

peanut and of on-farm trials, expanded efforts to

work through these farm groups and organizations

should be made.



6. A substantial portion of the limited resource

farmer audience does not participate in local farm

groups. Farm visits and other one-to-one extension

methods should be continued so as to reach these

farmers.



7. Although farmers' awareness of perennial peanut

trials is associated with their contact with

extension, a large number of those who were

contacted remain unaware of the trials. To further








71

enhance farmer awareness of the trials and of

perennial peanut and other innovations, additional

efforts should be made to mention specific trials

during contacts with farmers and to specifically

invite farmers to visit the trials.



8. Mention of specific trials and cooperating farmers,

including directions to their farms, should be

placed in local extension newsletters and

appropriate mass media.



Further Research



9. The findings of this study should be verified by

additional research in a similar setting.



10. Further research concerning the communication of

agricultural information among these farmers might

aid extensionists in conducting their work.

Interpersonal communication of information about

the perennial peanut trials was minimal. Is this

true for other trials? Does farmer-to-farmer

exchange of other types of agricultural information

take place? What kinds of farm information are

exchanged and under what circumstances?














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