Increasing Farmer Engagement with Conservation Practices Through More Effective Communication Strategies
There is a vast amount of knowledge about the effectiveness of conservation practices but getting farmers to implement these practices remains a significant challenge. Organizations like the Iowa Learning Farms have taken steps to engage farmers but more work is needed to amplify efforts, including to appeal to women or younger farmers or landowners, and to call attention to a greater diversity of conservation practices.
The long-term objective of the project is to enhance farmer and landowner engagement in conservation practices. This project aims to identify more effective message strategies for engaging farmer and landowner audiences – especially women and younger farmers -- in conservation practices aimed at reducing surface water nutrient loss.
To grow engagement, project partners will first evaluate existing conservation messages that appear in agricultural news media and messages produced by key farmer organizations and identify barriers to implementing conservation practices. The messages will be evaluated and messages used by farmers in interviews will also be analyzed. Next, Iowa farmers and landowners will be surveyed to better understand their perspectives on conservation practices and communication preferences. Lastly, project partners will use what they’ve learned to create new messages to encourage conservation adoption, which will be disseminated on multiple social media platforms.
The project team has conducted a literature review of survey research related to agriculture and media. In preparation for the content analysis, researchers identified the survey methodology, begun to build the corpus and made a draft coding sheet.