Volume 36 - Number 1 - 1995 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.1995.01031
The major purpose of this study was to assess the educational priorities of small farmers regarding delivery methods, educational programs, and program activities of the agricultural extension service in West Tennessee. The target population was 408 small farmers from three counties in West Tennessee. Random sampling was used to select 150 farmers, who represented 37 percent of the target population. Data collection was accomplished through a farm visit using a survey questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha was calculated to determine the internal consistency of the instrument. The composite reliability coefficients were .92 or above.
The major findings revealed that there was a greater need for educational programs for small farmers in the areas of crop marketing, soil conservation practices, and the use of pesticides. A majority of the respondents were full-time farmers and 53 percent of the farmers had less than a high school education. Most of the farmers were near retirement age and it appeared that the number of small farmers will continue to decline. There was a strong interest among the farmers that the extension agents place more emphasis on individualized methods to help farmers in solving problems.
The following recommendations were made: 1) extension agents should develop educational programs that are aimed at enhancing the technical knowledge and managerial skills of small farmers; and 2) extension agents should place more emphasis on helping farmers improve existing marketing systems.