Date of Award
Master of Science
Large-scale livestock production has become controversial because of the perceived threats it poses to socially important values like environmental integrity, quality of life/community well-being, and animal welfare. All of these things are subject to control by the managers of livestock production operations, whom others depend on to act with fiduciary responsibility. In many cases, the public has become skeptical as to the rigor with which this responsibility is carried out. This study asks the question, how do large-scale hog farmers' perceptions of public concerns about such potential risks affect their social interactions with their neighbors and other community members? To answer this question, this thesis will examine the following points, using data from qualitative interviews with hog farmers from Iowa: 1) What are the concerns about large-scale pork production, and how do farmers perceive those concerns? 2) How do farmers' relationships with agricultural institutions affect their perceptions of public concerns about large-scale livestock production, as well as their risk management decisions? 3) What do farmers do to build trust among their neighbors and to foster reciprocal relationships? Drawing on social exchange theory and concepts of risk and recreancy, I argue that farmers' relationships with agricultural institutions encourage them to adopt a technical approach to risk management. However, farmers recognize that this approach is inadequate for building trust among their neighbors--a necessary component of relationships that may be affected by the implementation of a controversial innovation like large-scale hog production. Subsequently, they try to compensate for this shortcoming by attempting to build trust through civic engagement and interaction with their neighbors. They do so to help demonstrate that they share similar values with their neighbors, and thus that they can be trusted to appropriately manage their hog production operations, too.
Kelsey Nicholle Kaska
Kaska, Kelsey Nicholle, "Building trust: How farmers manage social interactions in their home communities" (2011). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 12039.