Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Peterson, Donna J.

Committee Member

Collart, Alba J.

Committee Member

Downey, Laura Hall

Committee Member

Seal, Susan

Committee Member

Gallardo, Roberto

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural and Extension Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


The present empirical study examined factors that affect the acceptance and use of social media platforms by farmers and vendors in farmers’ communities in North Mississippi for marketing their small farm businesses. Based on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), structural equations modeling was used to examine several relationships: (1) the influence of performance expectancy (PE) on behavioral intention (BI) to use social media; (2) the influence of effort expectancy (EE) on BI; (3) the influence of social influence (SI) on BI; (4) the influence of facilitating conditions (FC) on actual use (USE) of social media; (5) the moderating influence of gender on the PE–BI, EE–BI, and SI-BI relationships; (6) the moderating influence of age on the PE–BI, EE–BI, SI-BI, and FC–USE relationships; and (7) the moderating influence of experience using social media on the EE–BI, SI-BI, and FC–USE relationships. Results from 169 respondents who completed questionnaires indicated that PE, EE, SI, and FC (key constructs) did predict farmers and vendors’ BI to use social media and actual USE of social media for marketing their small farm businesses and agriproducts. Respondents’ characteristics (e.g., age, gender, social media experience) did moderate some of these relationships in different ways. Thus, the present study provided additional empirical support for UTAUT. Additionally, responses to questions that assessed constructs in UTAUT suggest that respondents are open to social media as a marketing tool for their small farm businesses. Other results indicated that farmers and vendors prefer to market their products through farmers markets and community supported agriculture groups as compared to retail outlets and noted barriers present in retail marketing channels. This study provides information that will be beneficial for the development of educational programs and contributes to the literature on the factors affecting farmers’ intention to use social media to promote agriproducts to connect new markets.