Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Laurie Yung

Commitee Members

Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf, Neva Hassanein


Local Knowledge, Agriculture, Drought, Climate Information


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Nature and Society Relations | Place and Environment | Rural Sociology


Climate change is projected to dramatically impact agricultural production across the world. Agricultural producers must adapt to changing conditions by implementing practices and utilizing knowledge that creates resilient operations. This study explores how Montana farmers and ranchers use of different types of knowledge during periods of drought and how risk perceptions and trust influence the use of knowledge. To understand the role trust and risk in producers’ use of local knowledge and climate information, I conducted five focus groups with 34 Montana agricultural producers. Producers explained that they encounter many agriculture-related risks, including uncertain forecasts, financial losses, and adverse weather. To manage these risks, producers rely on knowledge gained from past experiences. Producers also test out new practices and information through small-scale experimentation to expand their knowledge of what works on their farm or ranch. Agricultural agencies should support producers by promoting producer-conducted experimentation. To do so, agencies need to address financial barriers to on-farm experimentation through programs that reduce expenses and incentivize experimentation.



© Copyright 2019 Adam J. Snitker