The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived source credibility, as viewed by Florida citrus growers, of state and national agricultural organizations associated with containing the plant disease called citrus greening. This study sought to determine the types of information that agricultural opinion leaders received from these agriculture organizations. In late 2007, three focus groups were conducted at county Cooperative Extension Service offices in three major areas of citrus production. The number of participants ranged from four to six for a total of 15. Growers were asked about their awareness and understanding of citrus greening; management practices; cooperation with fellow producers and institutions that played a role in citrus greening management; preferred avenues of communication; and information dissemination methods. Qualitative analysis was conducted to identify key themes and patterns within each topic category. Focus group results indicated that Florida citrus growers preferred to receive information about citrus greening primarily through face-to-face meetings and field days. They also preferred to receive their information from other growers in order to find out how their fellow farmers handled citrus greening. Focus group participants struggled with trusting regulators and university researchers, based on the growers’ previous experiences during the unsuccessful citrus canker eradication program and growers’ perceptions of the practicality of the research. Finally, growers were critical of the lack of available information about citrus greening from regulators and university researchers.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.