Climate change and the resulting impacts on agriculture in the U.S., specifically cattle production, are of great concern to educators in Extension and other organizations. Extension has used a deficit model of communication to extend research information to audiences with the goal of changing behavior by simply providing information. Dialogic models that utilize two-way communication have proven to be more effective when communicating about contentious scientific issues. This study examined the effectiveness of a one-day workshop, focused on cattle production and climate change, on increasing attendees’ level of comfort when talking about climate change with their clientele. Attendees indicated the workshop increased their level of comfort in facilitating the application of research, hosting programs, and delivering presentations that cover the topic of climate change. Sessions that focused on climate data, trending data over time, and manipulations of data were most beneficial. Making workshop content personally relevant to the attendees’ professions increased their comfort with material and their ability to share knowledge with cattle producers. Delivery of the material was also a very important factor in preference for the sessions. Future workshops should incorporate dialogue training and role-play, so educators will feel more prepared to discuss climate change with their clientele.
Wandersee, C., Telg, R., Smith, D., & Mukhtar, S. (2019). Cattle Producers and Climate Change Conversations: Assessing Workshop Effectiveness in Preparing Communicators to Discuss a Contentious Scientific Topic. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 7(1), 9. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/jhse/vol7/iss1/9
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