Lamm, A. J., Warner, L. A., Martin, E. T., White, S. A., & Fisher, P. (2017). Enhancing extension programs by discussing water conservation technology adoption with growers. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(1), 251-266. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.01251
Nursery growers are one of the largest agricultural users of water. Researchers have been developing new water treatment techniques and technologies for nursery growers to assist in preserving this precious resource, yet adoption within the industry has been limited. Extension professionals need to work closely with nursery growers to encourage adoption but the enablers and barriers are largely unidentified in the literature. Twenty-four interviews were conducted with nursery growers nationwide to identify the barriers and enablers to adoption in an effort to provide recommendations for improved extension programming with this audience. The findings revealed nursery growers have a positive attitude towards water conservation but the financial cost of replacing equipment keeps them from adopting. In addition, nursery growers perceive new technologies to be complex and difficult to understand and implement. Extension professionals can leverage this positive attitude and use social norms to assist in overcoming some of the barriers. Using case studies as examples of success stories, partnering with researchers to develop easy to use instructions and integration tools that could be offered online, and assisting growers in connecting with agricultural economists to conduct cost/benefit analysis associated with adoption are a few of the recommendations offered.