Category

Qualitative

Recruiting Minority Students into Secondary School Agriculture Education Programs: Barriers, Challenges, and Alternatives

K. S. U. Jayaratne, Travis Park, & Jason Davis
The United States population is becoming increasingly diverse, and agricultural education should represent that diversity. Researchers conducted a Delphi study of 12 exemplary agriculture programs with diverse student populations in North Carolina. After three rounds, consensus was reached about 11 strategies useful in recruiting minority students, including most prominently, (1) making personal connections with potential students, (2) students recruiting their minority friends, (3) minority students recruiting other minority students, (4) showcasing exceptional minorities who have succeeded in the agriculture field, and (5) being yourself and care for your students. The study also identified 12 alternatives helpful in retaining the minority students into another agriculture course or FFA, most prominently, (1) buying-in from friends, (2) talking to minority students already in the program, (3) building teacher and student relationship, (4) creating interest in agriculture subjects, and (5) getting minority students connected and involved.

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Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: A Phenomenological Inquiry to Understand Ugandan Farmers’ Experiences Using Fertilizers

Chandler Mulvaney, Kathleen D. Kelsey, Nicholas E. Fuhrman, & Ronald Lemo
This article examines factors influencing Ugandan subsistence farmers’ adoption or rejection of mineral fertilizers using the theory of planned behavior as a theoretical lens (Ajzen, 2011). We conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 Ugandan farmers in-situ. Participants were criterion selected based on their rate of adoption of fertilizers and membership in farmer groups. We analyzed the interviews following phenomenological research design. Four themes emerged, they were (a) we are better together, working in farmer groups improves outcomes, (b) behavioral change begins within the family and farmer groups, (c) farmers need greater access to agricultural production knowledge and inputs, and (d) changes in farmers’ knowledge leads to intentional behavior changes. The themes were summarized to generate the phenomenological essence of climbing Jacob’s ladder. The factors that influenced fertilizer adoption included being a member of a formally recognized and registered farmer group…

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A Qualitative Analysis of the Challenges and Threats facing Cooperative Extension at the County Level

Lendel Narine, Amy Harder, & Priscilla Zelaya
The Cooperative Extension Service faced many challenges and threats over its history. Persistent internal challenges affecting Extension are communication with stakeholders, high employee turnover, and a marketing deficit. Common external threats included reduced funding, increases in non-traditional audiences, and inadequate facilities. Guided by a needs assessment framework, this study sought to identify the challenges and threats facing the [State] Cooperative Extension Service at the county level. Using a basic qualitative research design, the final reports from the 2016 county program reviews were used as the primary source of data. Results were consistent with the literature and showed persistent challenges facing Extension were staff limitations, marketing and communication ineffectiveness, limited program coverage, inadequate volunteer recruitment, and lack of funding…

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Motivational Factors that Influenced Learner Participation in Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs

Eric D. Rubenstein & Andrew C. Thoron
Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs are an integral component of school-based agricultural education. However, student participation in SAE has continually decreased since the mid-1980s. Therefore, it was necessary to better understand factors that motivate students to participate in SAE programs. This led to the purpose of this qualitative study, which was to examine motivational factors that influence student participation in SAE. The researchers used the constant comparative analysis method to identify specific motivational factors that influenced SAE participation. The researchers found that participants were motivated by their family’s culture and traditions. Moreover, the student’s participation in the National FFA Organization (FFA), interaction with other FFA members, and recognition through SAE awards structure through FFA motivated students to engage in SAE. Further, the participants in this study were motivated by their personal satisfaction, interest, desire, and goals. The researchers also concluded that the agriculture teacher plays an important role in motivating students through conducting SAE supervision, building lasting relationships with students, and requiring student participation in SAE. Therefore, the researchers recommended that agriculture teachers continue to require every student to conduct an SAE and utilize all available resources to engage students in SAE.

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Resiliency and Leadership of Tobacco Producers in Greene County, TN: A Qualitative Study

Melody Rose, Carrie Stephens, Ralph Brockett, Christopher Stripling, & Baylee Jarrell
The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of current Greene County burley tobacco producers in a declining global tobacco industry. The central research question was “How have you maintained your leadership and resilience in burley tobacco production in Greene County?” Ten Greene County producers participated in this study through an interview conducted utilizing a series of 33 questions aimed at determining specific themes regarding resiliency in their communities, as well as the individual producers’ adaptive leadership styles. Data collected from interviews were synthesized to correlate perceptions of current tobacco production in Greene County from the inception of the tobacco program to present-day regarding cultural norms and economic impact, while simultaneously providing…

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4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program: A Qualitative Study in Career Exploration

Ronnie L. Cowan, Carrie A. Stephens, Christopher Stripling, Craig Harper, Baylee Jarrell, & Shelby Brawner
Previous studies have documented the Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) builds life skills of 4-H participants. Furthermore, youth education and development of life skills are enhanced through 4-H educational efforts that provide hands-on learning projects and concepts that ultimately assist in career development (Bandura,Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 2001; Bourdeau, 2004. The purpose of this study is to describe WHEP participants’ perceptions of careers in wildlife management after the completion of the annual program. The centralresearch question guiding this study was how do 4-H members view careers in wildlife management after participating in WHEP? A focus group comprised of nine WHEP participants was conducted at the Tennessee 4-H Wildlife Judging contest to determine participants’ perceptions of careers in wildlife management after completion of the annual program…

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Needs Assessment for Prospective Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers

Baleshka Brenes Mayorga, Robert L. Williams, Leah Wickersham, & Teresa Duch-Carvallo
The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the needs and interests of prospective Hispanic farmers and ranchers in the target counties in order to improve outreach programs. The results will help outreach programs to mitigate the barriers identified by study participants and focus on the needs of Hispanic farmers. The methodology used was basic qualitative research using focus group interviews, observational analysis, and literature review of previous studies. Three focus group interviews with 6-14 people in each group were used for data collection. Interviews were conducted in Spanish and recorded. Comparisons were made within groups and among groups. The information was analyzed to identify patterns or trends in discussion. The categories found included family support, education, culture, communication, economic stability, immigration status, services, agriculture, fear, language, vision and opportunities, how to start and maintain a business, and community opinion leadership.

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Preservice Teachers’ Perceptions of Infusing Mathematics in the School- Based Agricultural Education Curricula

Nathan W. Conner, Sarah Greer, Nathan Ollie, Christopher T. Stripling, & Carrie A. Stephens
Mathematics knowledge is a critical component of natural and agricultural sciences, and school- based agricultural education is expected to support core academic instruction. Therefore, preservice agricultural education teachers must be prepared to teach mathematical concepts.
This study explores preservice agricultural education teachers’ perceptions of mathematics in the school-based agricultural education curricula. Five preservice teachers consisting of 4 females and 1 male participated in this qualitative study. Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews that were approximately 30 minutes, and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Audit trails, triangulation, member checking, and thick description were used to achieve trustworthiness. Five themes…

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