Warner, L. A., Lamm, A. J., White, S. A., Fisher, P. R., & Beattie, P. N. (2020). A New Perspective on Adoption: Delivering Water Conservation Extension Programming to Nursery and Greenhouse Growers. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(1), 172-189. doi: 10.5032/jae.2020.01172

Extension professionals help important agricultural sectors across the country resolve challenges using science-based practices that enhance environmental and social wellbeing while supporting businesses. Nursery and greenhouse growers comprise one of the largest sectors of U.S. agriculture, and this group is challenged to conserve water without compromising their economic viability. While Extension professionals educate and support nursery and greenhouse growers, there is a deficiency of research on adoption processes within this sector. To better understand this important Extension audience, this research examined the influence of critical thinking and problem-solving style on perceived characteristics of water conservation technologies and in turn the perceived characteristics relationship with their implementation. A route to adoption was established to inform effective Extension activities that promote water conservation. Problem-solving style predicts trialability while critical thinking style predicts none of the five characteristics of innovations. Of the five characteristics of water conservation innovations, relative advantage, trialability, and observability play a role in nursery and greenhouse growers’ implementation, and implementation does influence adoption. When designing water conservation programs for nursery and greenhouse growers, Extension professionals should consider participants’ problem-solving style and incorporate strategies to increase trialability, relative advantage, and observability.

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