By: Lohr, Luanne; Park, Timothy A.
Responses from a national survey of U.S. organic farmers indicated dissatisfaction with the extension service. An ordered probit model was used to identify the factors influencing effectiveness ratings of extension advisors by farmers. Study findings show that part-time, higher income organic farmers who used a variety of highly rated private-sector information sources rated extension providers as more effective. Farmers in the Northeast and West regions rated extension usefulness more highly than in other regions. Not accounting for these demographic components in effectiveness ratings may result in under- or overestimation of results of organic-targeted extension programs. Extension agents can improve their usefulness to organic farmers by complementing educational and technical services offered by the private sector, and by facilitating farmer information exchanges as well as presenting relevant research findings as they have traditionally done.