“I talk to producers like I’m a producer!” Exploring extension professionals’ perceptions and framing of climate change





climate change, agricultural extension, agricultural communications, climate literacy


Climate change is a central risk to global agriculture. As extension professionals are key disseminators of information on agricultural production, their perceptions of climate change and how they convey climate information to farmers is important to understand. This study explored how extension professionals in Missouri perceive the issue of climate change, how they frame communications with their producer stakeholders, and their need for training. We conducted an online survey with 112 extension professionals in the state, using Maibach and colleagues’ Six Americas Scale. The majority of participants believed that climate change is happening, although participants fell into each segment of the scale. There was a significant relationship between conservative ideological leaning and disbelief in climate change. Participants were more likely to use terms like “extreme weather,” “weather variability,” and “long-term weather” and least likely to say things like “climate debate,” “global warming,” and “greenhouse gases.” Only 6.7% of participants had received any formal training on climate change. These findings point to the need for participatory training for extension professionals on climate change, to build climate literacy while also teaching climate scientists best practices for communicating these issues to the public.



Download data is not yet available.


Ali, F., Ciftci, O., Nanu, L., Cobanoglu, C., & Ryu, K. (2021). Response rates in hospitality research: An overview of current practice and suggestions for future research. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 62(1), 105–120. https://doi.org/10.1177/1938965520943094

Arbuckle, J. G., Prokopy, L. S., Haigh, T., Hobbs, J., Knoot, T., Knutson, C., Loy, A., Mase, A. S., McGuire, J., & Morton, L. W. (2013). Climate change beliefs, concerns, and attitudes toward adaptation and mitigation among farmers in the Midwestern United States. Climatic Change, 117, 943–950. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0707-6

Bowers, A. W., Monroe, M. C., & Adams, D. C. (2016). Climate change communication insights from cooperative extension professionals in the US southern states: Finding common ground. Environmental Communication, 10(5), 656–670. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2016.1176947

Chen, H., Zhu, Q., Peng, C., Wu, N., Wang, Y., Fang, X., Gao, Y., Zhu, D., Yang, G., Tian, J., Kang, X., Piao, S., Ouyang, H., Xiang, W., Luo, Z., Jiang, H., Song, X., Zhang, Y., Yu, G., … Wu, Y. (2013). The impacts of climate change and human activities on biogeochemical cycles on the Qinghai‐Tibetan Plateau. Global Change Biology, 19(10), 2940–2955. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12277

Chryst, B., Marlon, J., van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., & Roser-Renouf, C. (2018a). “Six Americas short survey”: Audience segmentation of climate change views using a four question instrument. Environmental Communication, 12(8), 1109–1122. https://doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2018.1508047

Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., Carlton, J. S., Lewandowsky, S., Skuce, A. G., & Green, S. A. (2016). Consensus on consensus: A synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 048002. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

Corp, M. K., & Darnell, T. (2002). Conflict-laden issues: A learning opportunity. Journal of Extension 40(1), 10. https://archives.joe.org/joe/2002february/rb1.php

De Vaus, D. (2013). Surveys in social research (6th ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203519196

Dey, P., & Mishra, A. (2017). Separating the impacts of climate change and human activities on streamflow: A review of methodologies and critical assumptions. Journal of Hydrology, 548, 278–290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.03.014

Egan, P. J., & Mullin, M. (2017). Climate change: US public opinion. Annual Review of Political Science, 20, 209–227. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051215-022857

Filho, W. L. (2009). Communicating climate change: Challenges ahead and action needed. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 1(1), 6–18. https://doi.org/10.1108/17568690910934363

Getson, J. M., Church, S. P., Radulski, B. G., Sjöstrand, A. E., Lu, J., & Prokopy, L. S. (2022). Understanding scientists’ communication challenges at the intersection of climate and agriculture. PloS One, 17(8), e0269927. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0269927

James, A. A., Estwick, N. M., & Bryant, A. (2014). Climate change impacts on agriculture and their effective communication by Extension agents. Journal of Extension, 52(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.52.01.01

Liu, Z., Smith, W. J., & Safi, A. S. (2014). Rancher and farmer perceptions of climate change in Nevada, USA. Climatic Change, 122, 313–327. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0979-x

Maibach, E. W., Leiserowitz, A., Roser-Renouf, C., Mertz, C. K., & Akerlof, K. (2011). Six Americas screening tools: Survey instruments; instructions for coding and data treatment; and statistical program scripts. Yale Project on Climate Change. https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2012_03_Global-Warming%E2%80%99s-Six-Americas-Screener-Manual.pdf

Mellahi, K., & Harris, L. C. (2016). Response rates in business and management research: An overview of current practice and suggestions for future direction. British Journal of Management, 27(2), 426–437. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12154

Moser, S. C. (2010). Communicating climate change: History, challenges, process and future directions. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 1(1), 31–53. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.11

Morton, S. M., Bandara, D. K., Robinson, E. M., & Carr, P. E. A. (2012). In the 21st Century, what is an acceptable response rate? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(2), 106–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00854.x

Nulty, D. D. (2008). The adequacy of response rates to online and paper surveys: What can be done? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(3), 301–314. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602930701293231

Prokopy, L. S., Bartels, W.-L., Burniske, G., & Power, R. (2017). Agricultural extension and climate change communication. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.429

Prokopy, L. S., Morton, L. W., Arbuckle Jr, J. G., Mase, A. S., & Wilke, A. K. (2015). Agricultural stakeholder views on climate change: Implications for conducting research and outreach. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 96(2), 181–190. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00172.1

Ruth, T., & Colclasure, B. (2023). The media’s influence on climate change beliefs: A partisan comparison. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 4(2), 20–33. https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v4i2.263

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2012). Quota sampling. Business Research Methodology. https://research-methodology.net/sampling-in-primary-data-collection/quota-sampling/

Tavakol, M., & Dennick, R. (2011). Making sense of Cronbach’s alpha. International Journal of Medical Education, 2, 53–55. https://doi.org/10.5116%2Fijme.4dfb.8dfd

Tyson, A., Funk, C., & Kennedy, B. (2023). What the data says about Americans’ views of climate change. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/04/18/for-earth-day-key-facts-about-americans-views-of-climate-change-and-renewable-energy/

Weber, E. U. (2006). Experience-based and description-based perceptions of long-term risk: Why global warming does not scare us (yet). Climatic Change, 77(1–2), 103–120. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-006-9060-3

Weber, E. U. (2010). What shapes perceptions of climate change? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 1(3), 332–342. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.41

Wiest, S. L., Raymond, L., & Clawson, R. A. (2015). Framing, partisan predispositions, and public opinion on climate change. Global Environmental Change, 31, 187–198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.12.006

Wilke, A. K., & Morton, L. W. (2015). Climatologists’ communication of climate science to the agricultural sector. Science Communication, 37(3), 371–395. https://doi.org/10.1177/1075547015581927

Wu, M.-J., Zhao, K., & Fils-Aime, F. (2022). Response rates of online surveys in published research: A meta-analysis. Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 7, 100206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chbr.2022.100206




How to Cite

Wilson, K. R., & Mukembo, S. C. (2023). “I talk to producers like I’m a producer!” Exploring extension professionals’ perceptions and framing of climate change. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 4(4), 24–38. https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v4i4.377