18 pages, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are known to have a wide range of negative impacts upon nearby residents and communities. Therefore, the siting of such operations in economically underdeveloped rural communities is an important environmental justice issue. This study explores the environmental conflict that surrounded a proposed CAFO in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. In this struggle, an outside corporation attempted to site a new CAFO in a community that was highly divided on the issue. We draw complementary insights from the environmental justice, stakeholder theory, and rural studies literatures to explain how the opponents of the CAFO were ultimately able to successfully resist the unwanted land use. This theoretical framework treats the formation of environmental inequalities as a process of conflict among diverse parties in which the potentially impacted communities may strongly influence the eventual outcome. Through interviews with key stakeholders and analysis of local and state media sources, we examine the primary points of contention within the local community along with the relative claims making and discursive strategies employed by each side. The findings of this study imply that how rural communities construct their identity and define potential environmental hazards are central to deciding environmental conflicts.
22 pages., via online journal., In 2015, Blue Bell Creameries had its first recall in the company’s history. Blue Bell issued a voluntary recall of all of its ice cream products after Listeria was detected and was linked to 10 illnesses that resulted in three deaths. With the theoretical framework of framing and Situational Crisis Communication Theory, the purpose of this study was to explore how this recall was presented in company press releases and news media coverage to determine what crisis communication strategies Blue Bell implemented and how the media presented that information. This study was a content analysis of 23 press releases from Blue Bell and 68 articles from newspapers. The four crisis response strategies, or postures, used as frames were deny, diminish, rebuild, and bolster. This study also examined sources identified in the articles and the topic areas they discussed. The results indicated Blue Bell’s communication efforts were properly and effectively disseminated through the news media to the public. Blue Bell used accommodative crisis communication postures to restore its reputation. Blue Bell was also commonly found as a source in the news stories, which benefitted the company when communicating about the recall to the public. This study provided an examination of crisis communication strategies and reputation management for organizations related to one specific food recall, which should encourage additional studies of these strategies in food and agricultural industries.
8 pages, Effectively communicating with diverse groups involved in environmental management is critical to facilitating successful projects. This five-step communication plan is designed to enable resource managers and extension professionals to successfully engage their stakeholders. This plan, which uses oyster reef management as an example, was informed by two primary sources: an expert meeting with stakeholder leaders and coastal residents and a review of relevant literature. By incorporating stakeholder input throughout the planning and implementation of natural resource management projects, new and innovative ideas emerge, and relationships between stakeholders, managers, and extension agents are strengthened.
7 pgs, Extension is uniquely positioned to deliver data-driven solutions to complex community issues with University applied research, particularly through crises like COVID-19. Applying the Policy, Systems and Environmental (PSE) framework to community development is an effective, innovative approach in guiding Extension leaders to create, document, and share long-term transformative change on challenging issues with stakeholders. Beyond the public health sector, applying a PSE approach to community development provides leverage points for population-level benefits across sectors. This article describes current public health approaches, methodologies, and how the PSE framework translates to other programs with four examples of high-impact, systems level Extension projects.
via online journal., The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the nature of corporate positions on animal welfare available on the websites of five meat producing companies in the U.S. The results of the content analysis illustrated that there were common topics among the dialogs the companies were willing to open related to their animal welfare positions. The companies typically took a general approach to animal welfare topics, commonly focusing on their corporate policy and their commitment to animal welfare. While each company focused on a unique combination of topics, companies commonly avoided mentioning more specific and possibly controversial topics and instead chose to focus on big-picture topics such as a commitment to sound animal welfarepractices. Each company used a particular set of frames to couch individual animal welfare messages for consumers. The most common frame led was that the company is an industry leader in animal welfare. Eighteen thematic terms related to livestock production and handling emerged through the content analysis. Of those, animal handling and humane were clearly the most commonly used terms. Future research should include matching these content analysis results with the existing communication strategies of each company, conducting more content analyses on animal protein companies’ other media outlets, as well as further exploring the presence of frames, topics, and terminology in news coverage in comparison to the online messages of animal protein companies.
11 pages, Extension is well-positioned to facilitate communication strategies that foster community resilience and disaster recovery, particularly for rural residents. This paper proposes a new approach to post-disaster communication that strengthens rural community capacities in locally and culturally relevant ways. The findings revealed specific post-disaster information needs, preferences for local resources, and communication that encourages resilience through a document analysis and interviews with informants recovering from the 2020 Colorado wildfires. The practical recommendations discussed serve as a starting point for Extension professionals in other areas to consider ways to engage with their communities before, during, and after a disaster.
15 pages, Generalized trust, which refers to trust towards people that are not well known (Yamagishi and Yamagishi, 1994; Stolle, 2002; Uslaner, 2002; Freitag and Traunmüller, 2009), is needed for many situations of economic interaction such as daily market activities. Considering that trust acts as a lubricant for social interaction, a lack of generalized trust can severely restrict a persons reach of efficient economic exchange. Increases of generalized trust within a society thus have the potential to create large efficiency gains (Fafchamps and Minten, 2002; Fafchamps, 2006).
Given the importance of trust for social interaction and various welfare dimensions, a growing body of economic, sociological, and psychological research has been devoted to examining the circumstances under which trust can thrive. A reoccurring notion in all three disciplines is that communication represents a key factor in the formation of trust (Lewicki et al., 2006; Glanville and Paxton, 2007). Ostrom et al. (1992), for example, find that communication and sanctioning in a common pool resource experiment lead to substantially more efficient outcomes. In a laboratory setting, personal communication has shown to enhance trust (Buchan et al., 2006), and is even more powerful in creating mutually benefitting exchanges than the possibility to engage in non-binding contracts (Ben-Ner and Putterman, 2009).
In this paper, we analyze whether mobile phones which constitute a fundamental component of modern information and communications technologies (ICT) can help build social trust among pastoral communities in Northern Kenya.1 In most African countries, trust levels are remarkably low; out of all regions in the world, people living in sub-Sahara Africa exhibit the lowest levels of generalized trust (Mattes and Moreno, 2018). In the study region of Northern Kenya, it is particularly relevant to increase trust for several reasons. First, the relatively weak legal system jeopardizes contract enforcement, which means that any economic interaction requires substantial amounts of trust between the contract partners. This has caused a strong reliance on trust-based relationships in Northern Kenyas livestock sector (Mahmoud, 2008; Pavanello, 2010; Roba et al., 2018). Furthermore, low trust levels between ethnic tribes have also reinforced longstanding intertribal conflicts in the region, and impede solutions to share resources peacefully and effectively (Schilling et al., 2012). Lastly, the low population density and long physical distances between settlements in the region make communication over long distances difficult and therefore induce high monitoring costs. Potential benefits of enhancing trust are therefore particularly high in the context of Northern Kenya.
To compensate for physical remoteness, rural communities have a high need for digital connectivity but have oftentimes suffered from poor connection and inclusion in existing networks in the past (Salemink et al., 2017). Over the last decade, however, mobile phones have become available to most pastoralists in Northern Kenya (Butt, 2015; Asaka and Smucker, 2016; Parlasca et al., 2020). A large and growing body of research has pointed out that mobile phones can help increase several paramount welfare dimensions of rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa, such as income and income equality, financial development, gender equality, or institutional quality (Aker and Mbiti, 2010; Asongu, 2015; Asongu and Nwachukwu, 2016; Rotondi et al., 2020). However, the research on the implications of mobile phones on social capital formation is much less extensive. To the best of our knowledge, the potential of mobile phones to affect trust is so far solely based on qualitative or anecdotal evidence (Molony, 2006, 2009; Overå, 2006) and lacks quantitative assessments. This paper aims to close this gap.
In this study, we elicit trust levels with an incentivized experiment, namely the canonical trust game by Berg et al. (1995). Experimental sessions were conducted from July 2018 to August 2018 in 17 different villages in Turkana County, Northern Kenya, and included a total of 402 respondents. We differentiate with regard to the object of trust by measuring trust towards fellow villagers, trust towards people from a neighboring village, and trust towards city dwellers from the county capital. Past research in rural sub-Saharan Africa indicates that smallholder farmers exhibit less trust towards people from different villages (Etang, 2010; Etang et al., 2011) or people from the next larger city (Parlasca et al., 2019). The differentiation of the object of trust therefore allows investigating heterogeneous effects of mobile phone use on trust depending on the physical distance between trustor and trustee.
This research adds add to the existing literature in several ways: to the extent of our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the direct link between mobile phone use and trust using quantitative household data from a low-income country. Thus far, no study has analyzed the role of geographical distance in the relationship between mobile phone use and trust. Lastly, this analysis contributes to the extremely sparse literature on trust in the context of pastoralist communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The remainder of the study is organized as follows. Section 2 lays out the conceptual framework that guides the analysis. The data are explained in section 3 and the empirical framework is presented in section 4. The results are discussed section 5, followed by concluding remarks in section 6.
10 pages., Via online journal., Development of natural resource user typologies has been viewed as a potentially
effective means of improving the effectiveness of natural resource management engagement
strategies. Prior research on Corn Belt farmers’ perspectives on climate change employed
a latent class analysis (LCA) that created a six-class typology—the Concerned, Uneasy,
Uncertain, Unconcerned, Confident, and Detached—to develop a better understanding of
farmer perspectives on climate change and inform more effective climate adaptation and
mitigation outreach strategies. The LCA employed 34 variables that are generally unobservable—beliefs about climate change, experience with extreme weather, perceived risks of
climate change, and attitudes toward climate action—to identify types. The research reported
in this paper builds on this typology of Corn Belt farmers by exploring 33 measures of observable farm enterprise characteristics, land management practices, and farmer demographics to
assess whether variations in these observable characteristics between the six farmer classes
display systematic patterns that might be sufficiently distinctive to guide audience segmentation strategies. While analyses detected some statistically significant differences, there were
few systematic, meaningful observable patterns of difference between groups of farmers with
differing perspectives on climate change. In other words, farmers who believe that anthropogenic climate change is occurring, that it poses risks to agriculture, and that adaptive action
should be taken, may look very much like farmers who deny the existence of climate change
and do not support action. The overall implication of this finding is that climate change
engagement efforts by Extension and other agricultural advisors should use caution when
looking to observable characteristics to facilitate audience segmentation. Additional analyses
indicated that the farmer types that tended to be more concerned about climate change and
supportive of adaptive action (e.g., Concerned and Uneasy) reported that they were more
influenced by key private and public sector actors in agricultural social networks. On the
other hand, farmers who were not concerned about climate change or supportive of adaptation (e.g., the Unconcerned, Confident, and Detached groups, comprising between one-third
and one-half of respondents) were less integrated into agricultural networks. This suggests that
Extension and other agricultural advisors should expand outreach efforts to farmers who are
not already within their spheres of influence.
17 pages., via online journal, By analyzing interview and survey data from U.S. Forest Service
employees, we examined the strategies used for communicating about
climate change within the agency and their effectiveness from the
perspective of agency employees. We found a limited awareness among
employees regarding climate policy. We found that horizontal information
flow through informal social networks was an important way in which
climate-change information was communicated. We also found a lack of
confidence among employees in their ability to provide feedback to
agency leadership. Our results suggest that (1) agency leadership’s ability
to set priorities and deliver positive vision is important for increasing
employee awareness and inspiring actions, (2) the agency could play a
role in facilitating formal and informal networking among employees, and
(3) using advanced information technologies may contribute to information flow horizontally and vertically, formally and informally.