Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Loran Jarrett, D.B.A.

Co-Major Professor

T. Grandon Gill, D.B.A.

Committee Member

Gert-Jan de Vreede, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alan R. Hevner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Uday Murthy, Ph.D.


Family-owned Farms, Motivation Strategies, Small Farming Community, Social Influence


Normally, family-owned farms are slow to adopt advanced technologies though these technologies can provide several benefits to the farm and have the potential to increase farm production volumes to help meet future population growth. The goal of this study was to document the factors that influence the adoption decision of advanced technologies by family-owned farms and what strategies can be used to motivate adoption. Case study research was conducted to gather data in a more structured way from family-owned farms typically excluded from past research for the purpose of comparing similarities across similar and dissimilar farms. For generalizing similarities, a conceptual case study design was developed using replicated farmers grouped into three groups with varying levels of adoption of two selected technologies. This design allowed the research to discover similar patterns across the three dissimilar groups and across the replicated farmers within each group. Although the study used the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology to guide the research and improve internal validity, Grounded Theory coding techniques were used to extract new ideas from the case study interviews.

The case study findings documented factors that positively influence the adoption decision to include time savings, higher crop yields, reduced input costs, word of mouth, early adopters, seeing technology in action, and younger farmers. Documented factors that have a negative influence include equipment compatibility, high setup costs, lack of knowledge, relying on personal knowledge, and lower technology literacy. The case study findings also documented strategies to induce adoption, which include subsidy programs, community meetings and classes, product demonstrations, face-to-face technology support, and community and social networks. Using grounded theory coding techniques, a new adoption model was developed to help explain the factors that influence family-owned farms to adopt advanced technologies. The adoption model could be used by academic and practice researchers to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence adoption and to develop strategies to motivate family-owned farms to adopt and use advanced technologies within their farming operations.

Academically, the research documented factors that influence adoption by family-owned farms and documented strategies that are effective in inducing adoption by family-owned farms. The research study also explored the importance of age and social influence in small family-owned farming communities. To contribute to practice, the research findings can be used by the extension service to create new methods to motivate family-owned farm adoption within the farming community.

The replicated farm case study design and the family-owned farm adoption model can be used by future researchers to conduct additional case studies to better understand each factor’s influence on adoption. Further research could be conducted using this design and model to include other technologies and other farming communities to continue the development of strategies to induce adoption by family-owned farms. Researchers working with extension agents to conduct this research could use the factors and strategies documented in the research findings to improve the effectiveness of extension service programs, increasing the adoption levels of advanced technologies within family-owned farm communities.