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Title Network-smart extension could catalyze social learning
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Social learning, learning from others, has value in extending knowledge about farm management through networks of growers. Exactly how much value depends on the structure of the networks. We employed social network analysis to study knowledge networks and social learning in three American Viticulture Areas in California: Central Coast, Lodi and Napa Valley. In a survey, growers confirmed that experiential and social learning are more useful for accessing information about farm management than formal learning. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension (UCCE) was found to be well positioned to access and spread knowledge through the grower networks but a bottleneck exists — many knowledge-sharing relationships and relatively few staff. We also found that grower participation in traditional outreach activities, e.g., meetings and demonstrations, is a strong predictor of their number of knowledge-sharing relationships, so UCCE and other agricultural support organizations have an important role to play in strengthening networks. Several network-smart extension strategies might help alleviate the bottleneck and rewire networks to more efficiently connect those with questions to those with solutions.

Hoffman, Matthew

Lubell, Mark
Professor  Water Policy in the AES
My research focuses on human behavior and the role of governance institutions in solving environmental collective action problems and facilitating cooperation. My current projects include watershed management, environmental activism, agricultural best management practices, and institutional change in local governments. I have done many grower surveys to understand participation in environmental programs and adoption of environmental practices.
Hillis, Vicken

Publication Date Apr 1, 2015
Date Added Jun 24, 2015
Copyright © The Regents of the University of California
Copyright Year 2015

A study of knowledge networks in three winegrowing regions shows an important role for UCCE and suggests strategies to boost social learning among growers.

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