The sustainability of organic agriculture is associated with the farmers’ experience, quality of information provided, management of risks, and compliance with legislation. The objectives of this study were to identify the sources used by the organic farmers to gain information related to organic production, and to assess organic farmers’ perceived attitudes towards extension services. To address the research objectives, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 organic farmers in central Pennsylvania. The interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim, categorized and coded, then thematically analyzed using an interpretive description methodology. The results showed that the extension services were not identified as a primary source of information that was frequently used by the organic farmers. Other organic farmers and organizationa for organic agriculture were the two primary sources of informaiton. The organic farmers were very adept at building social capital in seeking informaiton to address their issues and problems. The primary challenges faced by the organic farmers were the control of insects and weeds, and weather-related issues. The results highlighted that in addition to identifying viable information sources, factors such as adaptive capacities to climate change and certification were key to successful production in organic systems. The present study provides rich and deep information on how farmers perceive organic agriculture and extension services. The outcome of the research undertaken will enable planners, policy makers and the related Cooperative Extension personnel to better understand perceptions of the farmers to devise viable and workable policies and plans that address the concerns and challenges of the farmers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)