Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural & Extension Education

Committee Chair

Deborah A. Boone

Committee Co-Chair

Harry N. Boone

Committee Member

Jean M. Woloshuk


This study examined the motivational factors of college students who have chosen to study in an agriculturally related field. A descriptive research design using an online questionnaire was used for this study to determine factors which influenced career choice. Likert scale items were used to determine how motivating certain factors were for respondents in influencing their decision to study in an agriculturally related field. The Likert items were divided into five constructs: family influence, self-motivation, experience, use of skills, and career opportunities. Items within the five constructs were further analyzed to discover the top five motivational factors identified in each of the constructs. The top five "family influences" were found to be: teachers, agricultural professionals, family encouragement, parents, and the desire to do something the family has never done. The top influences for the construct of "self-motivation" were: a drive to succeed, highly self-motivated, creating innovative ways to improve the quality of life, finding new ways to perform career related tasks, and the desire to work with ones hands. The top five items from the "experience" construct that the respondents felt were highly motivational for their situations included: worked on a farm, prior experience in agriculture, worked in an agricultural business, agricultural courses in high school, and participation in National FFA convention. The top five factors comprising the construct "use of skills" were: enjoyable career options, variety of challenging activities, opportunities to work with knowledgeable professionals, use of verbal communication skills, and use of problem solving strategies. Thirteen items comprised the construct "career opportunities". The top five items identified were: multiple opportunities in agriculture, career opportunities associated with degree, employment directly after college, number of job locations, and the size of the industry. This study also found relationships between pursuing an agriculturally related career and life experiences, such as working on a farm or in an agricultural business or relatives who have worked on a farm or in an agricultural business. Relationships also existed between pursuing agricultural careers and high school agricultural courses as well as pursuing an agriculturally related career and college agricultural organization involvement.