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Relationships between the socio-economic characteristics of farmers in British Columbia and their contacts with district agriculturists Akinbode, Isaac Adefolu

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to measure the communication between farmers and the Agricultural Extension Service in British Columbia by analyzing the nature and number of contacts, as well as the relationship of such contacts to the socio-economic characteristics of farm operators. Two hypotheses were tested to ascertain whether there were any statistically significant differences in the level and kind of contact with District Agriculturists among farmers of varying socio-economic characteristics. The analytical survey method was used, and the data were collected by personal interviews with 256 farm household heads. The areas studied included Peace River, Northern Tier, North Thompson and Salmon Arm in rural British Columbia. In general, the respondents had similar characteristics to farm operators in other rural areas in the province. The respondents had a median of eight years of schooling, median net farm income of $2,000 to $2,999, and about one half of them had no off-farm jobs. Contacts between the respondents and the District Agriculturist were mainly through impersonal rather than personal sources of information, and the respondents reached by the two types of contact were not the same. The number of respondents who had personal contacts varied from 16 to 35 per cent, while the number obtaining information through the impersonal sources varied from 81 to 93 per cent, depending on the type of contact. The farmers had an average of 3.71 different types of contact during the year 1966. These included an average of 1.05 personal and 2.66 impersonal contacts. Farmers with higher socio-economic status reported more contacts than did lower status farmers. More personal contacts with the District Agriculturist were reported by farmers with more education. There were statistically significant differences between the users of all extension contacts and non-users, with respect to thirteen socio-economic characteristics. Four characteristics, including years of school completed, distance travelled for goods and services, social participation and amount of gross farm income, accounted for 34 per cent of the variation in the use of all types of extension contact combined. Between 13 and 27 per cent of the variation in each individual type of contact was accounted for by differing combinations of socio-economic characteristics.

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