National Tractor Safety Initiative: Designing Community-based Social Marketing Programs for Tractor Safety

The goal of this 24-month project was to initiate the incremental development of a community-based social marketing program for the promotion of selected aspects of the National Agricultural Tractor Safety Initiative. The project involved farm community members in the refinement of the Initiative and its recommendations, in identifying the most influential local media and communication channels for promoting the Initiative, and in developing and pre-testing a prototype social marketing toolkit for promoting selected aspects of the Initiative. Thirty-one (31) focus groups totaling 247 participants in eight states were conducted during the 2005-2007 study period. Focus group participants were selected from principal farm operators, farm managers, farm women, and farm service providers; e.g., Cooperative Extension agents, equipment dealers, insurers, health care professionals, financial consultants and business advisors, et al.

The project marked an extension of previous work done by the Southeast Center under the Kentucky ROPS 1 and ROPS 2 projects, which developed, field tested, and evaluated multiple messages and strategies for promoting roll-over protective structures (ROPS) for farm tractors. Numerous authors suggest that one of the most effective ways to cultivate attitudes that foster the adoption of farm safety practices is for researchers and members of the farming community to engage in dialogue -- especially dialogue that includes narrative accounts of injury events as recounted and discussed by farm community members (Cole, 1997, 2000; Morgan & Cole, 2002; Struttmann, Brandt, et al., 2001; Murphy, 2003; and Richardson, 2004). This project created such dialogue by utilizing the principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR) and further underscored the importance of ongoing stakeholder involvement in the conception, design, implementation, and evaluation of tractor safety programs.

For more information contact Chike Anyaegbunam, PhD Associate Professor Department of Integrated Strategic Communications University of Kentucky College of Communications and Information Studies 107 Grehan Building Lexington, KY 40506-0042 Phone: (859) 257-7820 odio.