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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donna J. Hess


The objective of this project was to examine the impact of farm or wetland-related groups on farmers' attitudes, values, and receptivity to conservation management. The study examined farmers' views of wetlands and wetland regulations, and factors related to their receptivity to wetland conservation. Rogers' theory of adoption-diffusion, Cook and Emerson's exchange theory and Singer's work on reference groups provided a model for analyzing information dissemination to farmers and for examining the processes of farmers' adoption or rejection of new information. The overall goal of the research was -- in accordance with the goals of the SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research Education) project -- to discover potentially favorable routes or media to more efficiently spread wetland conservation information to farmers. The methodology employed observation, participant observation, documentary analysis, surveys and interviews. The data gathered support the theoretical proposition of individually held beliefs being related to norms and normative prescriptions of groups or networks with which individuals interact. Data suggest groups affect receptivity to new practices, and new groups with which individuals interact may result in reframing already held norms, values and beliefs. Finally, worldview as measured by Beus and Dunlap's scale was not found to be as strong an indicator of farmers' wetland management attitudes and choices as "perceived risk" and costs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Farmers -- Attitudes
Wetland conservation




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