Warner, L. A., Silvert, C. J., & Benge, M. (2019). Using Adoption and Perceived Characteristics of Fertilizer Innovations to Identify Extension Educational Needs of Florida’s Residential Audiences. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(3), 155-172. doi: 10.5032/jae.2019.03155

The objective in this study was to explore factors that shape how residents manage their home landscapes, and we applied Rogers’ (2003) Diffusion of Innovations to understand fertilizer practices and implications for Extension programming to address non-point source pollution. Data were drawn from a statewide survey of 1,197 Floridians. We identified the extent to which Floridians were using 10 residential fertilizer best practices, how Floridians’ perceived characteristics of fertilizer innovations related to adoption, and evaluated how the educational needs pertaining to fertilizer use differed among non-innovative and innovative individuals. Respondents were most engaged in practices such as reading fertilizer packages and labels to apply the correct amount and least engaged in soil testing to inform fertilizer applications as well as
asking their landscape professional about training. Floridians perceived the five characteristics of fertilizer best practices at a moderate level overall, and of these, characteristics, compatibility, trialability, and relative advantage predicted adoption. Innovative individuals were more interested in learning from colleagues, neighbors, and public organizations such as Cooperative Extension and government organizations. They were also more interested in learning by visiting an Extension office or through social media than those who were non-innovative. This study may inform policymaking such as local landscape ordinances and planning of Extension behavior change programs.

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