Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Education and Studies

First Advisor

W. Wade Miller


We live in the age of ubiquitous and readily accessible information, particularly due to electronic media. This raises the need to reassess traditional diffusion theory, sources of information, and delivery modes. Do agricultural producers favor or need personal human interaction and or analytical interpretation in this new mode? The study surveyed many of the producer grant recipients of a federal program; the Value-Added Agriculture Producer Grants (VAPG) to determine, How do farmers and agribusinesses find, receive, and validate knowledge inputs in a world flooded with ubiquitous data and information? The results of this study relate to agricultural educators who daily must question their own methods as clients or potential clients question the relevance of these educators. The results revealed the use of social networks among these producers is important in obtaining information and making decisions related to their businesses. Producers use networks (virtual and spatial) to learn from one another. They rely on trusted sources and interpersonal communication, which although may be virtual, is still about relationships. Such findings bring focus to the adage that people do business with people. In this electronic age it appears the trust relationship is quite personal and highly valued. The participants indicated that agricultural educators and particularly Extension specialists can play a key role for them by helping them in facilitating social networks and by helping them to fit together what oftentimes appears to be disconnected or irrelevant information.


Copyright Owner

Mary Holz-clause



Date Available


File Format


File Size

137 pages