Risk information sufficiency & seeking of southeastern United States beef producers
Keywords:Quantitative, survey, cow-calf, risk management, small operations, risk information seeking and processing model
Of all cow-calf producers in the United States, one-third reside in the Southeast where operations face unique challenges and risks due to their geographical location. Cow-calf herds in the region are relatively small in terms of head counts as well as percentage of household incomes, making their operators less likely to participate in risk-reducing programs. Targeted risk communication is one way to help producers better understand and manage the multiple and complex risks they face. This study adapted the risk information seeking and processing model to inform a quantitative survey method that examined southeastern U.S. beef cow-calf producers’ perceived risks area knowledge gaps and the communication channels participants used to seek risk information. Participating producers were found to have gaps in knowledge for all risk areas in beef cow-calf management; the largest was economic and marketing/selling animals risks. No matter the risks area, producers prefer their risks information from magazines and Extension publications. Therefore, communication practitioners are encouraged to tailor risk management communications that help southeastern U.S. cow-calf producers fill their largest knowledge gaps in marketing/selling and economic risk management. Furthermore, this information is of the greatest need for producers with more beef production experience and larger herd sizes. Magazines and Extension publications offer communicators the best channels to readily reach southeastern U.S. cow-calf producers as this is where they are currently seeking risks information.
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