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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An analysis of the adoption of innovations by Okanagan orchardists Millerd, Frank Webb


This study analyses the adoption of some innovations by Okanagan Valley orchardists. Comparisons were made with findings on the adoption of innovations by American farmers. Also included in the study is an evaluation of the 1964 televised chautauqua produced by the Horticultural Branch of the British Columbia Department of Agriculture. This style of chautauqua (which may be defined as an assembly for educational purposes, lectures, entertainment, etc.) replaced an earlier version held in district halls throughout the Okanagan Valley. The data were gathered by interviewing a sample of Okanagan Valley orchardists from the population of orchardists in the area served by the 1964 T.V. Chautauqua and who were also included in the 1960 Orchard Survey of the Okanagan Valley. Generally, adoption theory, as developed from studies in other countries, can be applied to a specific Canadian setting. Earlier adopters of innovations were more active educationally, had been in orcharding longer, had larger and more valuable orchards, and sold more orchard products than later adopters. These results coincide with past studies. However, the vast majority of the early adopters were full-time orchardists, while other studies have found part-time farmers to be the most innovative. Also, this study found complete ownership of the farm to be a characteristic of the later adopters while other studies have found this characteristic of early adopters. Two differences with previous studies were found in the use of sources of information. Agricultural agencies increased in importance between the awareness and interest stages in the adoption process. Also unique to this study was less use of mass media and agricultural agencies by the earlier adopters than the later ones. Evidence of a two-step concept of the diffusion of technological innovations was found with innovations flowing from their place of origin to the earlier adopters and from them to the later adopters. Innovativeness was found to be a general characteristic of certain respondents in that they adopted most innovations. The T.V. Chautauqua was more valuable than its predecessor in one respect; more of the laggards (who use fewer agricultural agencies than most orchardists) watched the televised program than attended the district hall chautauqua. This study is limited by the use of a sample to gather data, the use of an incomplete population list for sampling and inconsistencies in the interpretation of questions and answers by the interviewers.

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