Motivations for Adoption of Sustainable Agriculture Practices, Education and Research: A Mixed-Methods Study

2005 Annual Report for GNC02-001

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2002: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Charles Francis
Grain Place Foundation

Motivations for Adoption of Sustainable Agriculture Practices, Education and Research: A Mixed-Methods Study


A comparison of measured motivation sources for adopting, promoting and presenting educational experiences, and expanding knowledge relevant to sustainable agriculture (SA) is integrated with interview data from producers, researchers and educators related to motivation to adopt, promote or research sustainable agriculture practices and principles. All data is collected and analysis of data being integrated prior to final reporting of the results.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Compare results of the Motivation Sources Inventory (Barbuto & Scholl, 1998) among 6 groups: SARE-funded producers
(1) educators
(2) and researchers
(3) and comparable groups who had not received SARE funding
(4-6) at the time of data collection.

Interview a representative sample of participants to explore ways they describe their personal motivation to engage in SA (SARE-funded interviewees) or innovation (non-SARE-funded interviewees) to seek greater understanding of the motivation process from the lived experience.

Integrate the quantitative and qualitative findings to reveal significant differences among the groups and provide deeper understanding of the results in context.

Report findings and contribute to the scholarship of motivation in sustainable agriculture.


Accomplishments & Milestones

Objective 1: Compare results of MSI among groups

a. Surveys were distributed and data collection complete by March 2003.
b. Quantitative analysis was conducted.
c. Comparative analyses were conducted.
d. Comparative analysis between the two producer groups was published.

Objective 2: Collect and analyze qualitative data

a. 33 audiotaped interviews were conducted.
b. Audiotapes have been transcribed and a representative number of them sent to the respective interviewee for verification.
c. Initial invivo coding has been conducted as the first step of a rigorous qualitative analysis.
d. Qualitative analysis will be complete by July 2006.

Objective 3: Integrate findings

a. Integration is not complete at the time of this writing, pending analysis of qualitative data.
b. Integration will be complete by August 2006.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Impacts & Contributions/Outcomes

To date:

1. Poster presentation: Trout, S.K., Francis, C.A., & Barbuto, J.E., Jr. (2003). Motivation and decision-making in agriculture. Presented at the American Society of Agronomy Annual Meeting, November 4, 2003, Denver, CO.

2. A manuscript of the comparative analysis of the two producer groups’ MSI results has been submitted for review.

3. Results of survey data from all SARE-funded groups was reported in PI’s dissertation: Trout, S.K. Motivation as an antecedent to positive environmental behaviors of agricultural leaders. Dissertation Abstracts, 2004.

4. Knowledge gained from conducting this research – especially that gleaned from the extensive literature review – was presented as a chapter in Francis, Poincelot & Bird’s (2005), A new social contract: Developing and extending a sustainable agriculture. Binghamton, NY: Hawthorne Press.

5. Final report of integration analysis will be submitted to SARE by September 2006.

6. Articles will continue to be submitted to relevant peer-reviewed publications, such as the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, Journal of Agricultural Education, Alternative Agriculture, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, and Leadership Quarterly, with each making a contribution relevant to that publication, in compliance with ethical research practices.

7. Once results have appeared in peer-reviewed journals, press releases containing key findings will be distributed to relevant, reliable publications as a way to inform practitioners, advocates and educators in fields relevant to sustainable agriculture and adoption of innovation. These fields include, but are not limited to production agriculture, rural sociology, community development, and alternative agriculture.


Chuck Francis

Major Professor