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Conference Name New Study Defining Rural Clientele for Extension in the West

Trent Teegerstrom


The principal objectives of this presentation are: (1) to characterize potential extension clientele in the West; (2) to identify their sources and extents of their perceived vulnerability; and (3) to identify effective methods for delivering Outreach education. The empirical analyses of the presentation are conducted by using Farm Survey Data of 2,645 farm operators in states of Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming targeting farm operations with annual sales of less than $50,000. The survey was conducted in 2006 by authors of this paper through the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The total response rate was 53.6%. A total of 2,645 surveys were completed, which is the sample size of our empirical analyses. Data were collected on small operator’s demographics, sources of risks, information sources and preferences, resource management, and income status, and thus enabling us to empirically examine and identify new clientele with respect to their socioeconomic status.

Our preliminary findings suggest that new clientele are farm operators who never received information from cooperative extension, those at financial and production risks, and operators whose farm income accounts for more than 50% of the total household income. The results show that there is disconnect between farmer’s own assessment of educational needs, and educator’s educational contents. Also we find that the most preferred medium for receiving outreach education in the West are print publication mailed directly to them rather than the current emphasis on delivering education through workshops and web media.

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