Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology


Jefferson D. Miller

Committee Member

K. Jill Rucker

Second Committee Member

Casandra K. Cox


Agriculture Communications, Computer-mediated communication, Effectiveness, Face-to-face communication, Uses and Gratifications Theory


As communication forms evolve, it is important for business leaders to not only follow the trends, but to be data-driven and make calculated decisions that are beneficial for their businesses. In this qualitative study, the researcher sought to describe how Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation used face-to-face and computer-mediated communication methods to communicate as an organization and the value their employees and members place on each communication method. Uses and Gratifications theory was used to guide this research and evaluate the results. This theory is unique in that it does not describe the effect media has on people, like many human communication theories, but rather it focuses on why people choose certain media outlets. Semi-structured telephone interviews were used to communicate with two groups of participants: employees and members. A thematic data analysis process was conducted using NVivo 11 software. The most-used face-to-face methods included county and state meetings, but adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic also led to increased use of computer-mediated tactics, such as texts, emails, phone calls, and video conferencing. Though there was a strong preference and value placed on all face-to-face communication forms among both employees and members, there was a shared appreciation for computer-mediated communication forms when necessary. Both employees and members value face-to-face communications methods because they better support relationship-building. Recommendations resulting from this study were for Arkansas Farm Bureau and similar organizations to continue prioritizing face-to-face communications within budgetary limitations and to take advantage of computer-mediated methods, especially videoconferencing to foster growth and inclusion.