Exploring differences in communication behaviors between organic and conventional farmers


  • Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa The Ohio State University
  • Joy Rumble The Ohio State University
  • Emily B. Buck The Ohio State University




Negative Perceptions about Agriculture, Farmers, Communication, Mainstream Media, Conventional Farming, Organic Farming, Production Practices, Proactive Versus Reactive


This exploratory qualitative study sought to gain initial insights into how farmers involved in dif­ferent production practices communicate with consumers. A thematic analysis of in-depth inter­views conducted with eight organic and 12 con­ventional farmers in Ohio indicated that organic farmers are proactive in communicating with the public about their production practices, unlike conventional farmers, who focus on improving productivity. Furthermore, the organic farmers reported using different communication channels such as Facebook, flyers, and YouTube when com­municating with consumers, while conventional farmers reported being busy working on their farms and not having time to communicate with consumers. Organic farmers’ involvement in com­munication activities with the public about their production practices and products was reported to stem from their beliefs and values toward sustain­able farming practices and environmental conser­vation. Furthermore, unlike conventional farmers, most organic farmers sold their produce directly to consumers, and as such, used communication as a marketing tool. The active involvement of organic farmers in communicating with consumers may be attributable in part to increased media coverage about the benefits of organic farming practices. On the other hand, limited involvement of conven­tional farmers in communicating with the public may be partially attributable to limited media cov­erage about the benefits of conventional farming. Therefore, to ensure that consumers make in­formed decisions, there is a need to start develop­ing standalone communication organizations and interventions committed to providing unbiased information about the benefits and disadvantages of the different farming practices.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa, The Ohio State University

Ph.D. candidate, The Ohio State University. Masambuka-Kanchewa, Ph.D., is now a postdoctoral research associate, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, The University of Georgia.

Joy Rumble, The Ohio State University

Ph.D; Assistant Professor, Agricultural Communication Education and Leadership

Emily B. Buck, The Ohio State University

Ph.D.; Professor, Agricultural Communi­cation Education and Leadership



How to Cite

Masambuka-Kanchewa, F., Rumble, J., & Buck, E. (2021). Exploring differences in communication behaviors between organic and conventional farmers. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(3), 205–219. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2021.103.018