Soil health for improved food securities: an extension professional perspective
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This trial study examines barriers to the diffusion and adoption of an agricultural concept surrounding soil health as an improved management tool which has most recently been introduced into production agriculture. For this study, a small sample set of perceived early adopters of soil health management practices were interviewed for their perspective on the subject of diffusion of innovation in soil health. Rogers' (1995) diffusion of innovation serves as the theoretical underpinning for this study. Where "an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption". H. F. Lionberger from the Department of Rural Sociology at University of Missouri was one of the contributing authors and had previous publications (Lionberger, 1957, 1960; Lionberger and Gwin, 1991). While diffusion of innovation has provided an overview of how information is diffused and adopted for Extension professionals, academia, and students, its use in discerning the adoption of soil health management practices has not been examined previously. There were both differences and similarities in what experiences, attitudes, and beliefs shaped the early adoption of Soil Health practices and how each interviewee perceived the most limiting factor 38 of adoption from other producers. Similarities included 1) family farm lived in diffusion of innovations. 2) economic concerns and 3) education is key while differences included perception of older folks as slow adopters. Even though the number sampled was small, N=2 for this study, the differences between the young and older age groups were characterized as "Blinding Energy" and "Earned Wisdom" respectively.