Agricultural producers’ perceptions of and preparedness for agricultural risks and desired communication strategies

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This study attempted to determine what agricultural producers’ perceptions are of all risk areas, their perceived preparedness for risks, and what resources and information sources they currently use to mitigate and manage risk. Risk perception is an important concept to understand how agricultural producers manage risk and why certain risks in agriculture are perceived as more important than others. A convenience sample of 57 producers in Wise County, Texas was recruited for this study. Participants were recruited at an AgriLife sponsored program, and asked to fill out pen and paper surveys. The results of this research project showed that of all risk categories—production, human resources, finance, market and economics, properties, and laws and political environments—production was ranked as the most important risk to producers. Not surprisingly, producers felt prepared to handle risks involved in managing animal disease, pests, and weather hazards. While financial risks were also ranked as a priority, producers were not as confident in managing financial risks. Producers ranked laws and political environments as the lowest priority risk category, but did not feel prepared to manage risks in this category. Additional results showed producers prefer face-to-face training sessions and websites in comparison to other communication methods and tend to trust agricultural government agents and interpersonal sources the most for sources. These results have important implications for agricultural communicators: risk management strategies need to be communicated to producers via methods they prefer and by sources they trust.

Agriculture, Risk preparedness, Risk perceptions, Risk communications, Agricultural extension