Title page for ETD etd-07012009-150925

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Richard, Julie Baker
URN etd-07012009-150925
Title The Agricultural Industry as Percieved By Members of the General Public of Louisiana
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michael F. Burnett Committee Chair
Krisanna L. Machtmes Committee Member
Michael E. Salassi Committee Member
Paul W. Wilson Committee Member
Satish Verma Committee Member
  • agricultural literacy
  • agriculture
  • knowledge
  • perception
Date of Defense 2009-06-01
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge and perceptions of the animal, plant, environmental, and food sciences by the adult residents of Louisiana. This study was conducted using a survey research design. This survey utilized random telephone dialing techniques in order to survey 547 residents of Louisiana. The survey instrument consisted of fifty-five questions divided into three sections: demographic characteristics, agriculture knowledge, and perception of agriculture.

The overall mean agriculture knowledge score of adult residents of Louisiana for the twenty items included in the survey instrument equaled 13.60 (SD = 2.743) or 68%. Perceptions of agriculture results reported nine items classified in the “agree” category, six were classified “neither agree nor disagree” category, and five were classified “disagree”. Adult members of the general public of Louisiana have more positive perceptions of agriculture with regard to the “Attitude toward Farming” (M= 3.81, SD= .73) and “Issues Related to Food Supply” (M= 3.72, SD= .49). Eighteen significant correlations were reported between the knowledge and perception concept areas.

It is concluded that adult members of the general public of Louisiana have a moderately high level of knowledge with regard to agriculture. Adult respondents have the highest levels of knowledge in the Environmental Science. The perception concept areas “Attitude toward Farming” and “Issues Related to Food Supply” are more positive, while the perception concept areas “Farming Practices” and “Food Prices” are both ambivalent. Due to the reported relationship, an increase in agricultural knowledge may result in a more positive increase in perceptions of agriculture. The researcher recommends continuation and expansion in mass media promotion such as billboards, television ads, newspaper articles, web postings, use of “YouTube”, blog sites, and group networking sites. Similarly, the researcher encourages the promotion of “agritourism” endeavors, allowing perceptions to be made based on personal experiences. The researcher further recommends increasing publication of classroom agriculture education materials designed to reach various audiences and expansion to distribute materials to more educators at the school level. The researcher recommends continuation of universal agriculture educational programming such as FFA, 4-H, and general agriculture in university curricula.

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