Agricultural Communication

Cover fiona

Researcher(s): Fiona Vande Velde

Promotors: Liselot Hudders and Veroline Cauberghe
Duration: October 2014 to June 2018


"Into the mind of a dairy farmer: A multi method study to induce sustainable worm control behaviour by communication strategies"

This PhD explored how farmers can be persuaded to adopt a more sustainable worm control. Due to a growing anthelmintic resistance in dairy cattle, the industry is forced to change their current worm control practices into more sustainable treatment. In the past, different campaigns and tools were set up to induce this behavioral change, however, these were not successful. The recommended practices were barely followed by farmers, which urges for a different approach. This PhD examined the benefits and barriers related to current and more sustainable worm control practices among Flemish dairy farmers in a quantitative survey study. Additionally, the PhD examined farmers beliefs related to sustainable worm control with qualitative in-depth interviews. These insights were then further used to test communication strategies to raise awareness on the topic and induce behavioral change in two experimental studies. In particular, the effectiveness of two-sided message strategies and the moderating impact of humor were examined. Additionally, the effectiveness of appealing to social norms and the moderating impact of source type were examined. The results of these experimental studies provide further guidance for the development of social marketing campaigns. The studies are published in Veterinary Parasitology, Preventive Veterinary medicine and Environmental Psychology.