Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department


First Advisor

Taylor Ruth

Second Advisor

Heather Akin

Third Advisor

Ciera Kirkpatrick

Date of this Version

Spring 5-2023


Durheim, A. (2023). An exploration of influences on consumers' behavior/decisions in relation to animal agriculture [Master's thesis].


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Leadership Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Taylor K. Ruth. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2023

Copyright © 2023 Abigail Elizabeth Durheim


Animal agriculture provides many daily resources for consumers around the globe. While the average American is at least three generations removed from agriculture, they still hold power to influence the industry with the dollar and their vote. The purpose of this study was to identify influences on consumer behaviors/decisions in relation to animal agriculture. Seven hundred four complete and usable responses were collected via a researcher-developed online survey. Using branding concepts as a framework, the first study evaluated how visual stimuli influenced consumers' intention to purchase Nebraska beef products. Researchers found that visual stimuli did influence respondents to choose Nebraska beef products, and that respondents valued freshness and taste when choosing their beef products.

The second study used Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) to determined how consumers perceived credibility of source types influenced their intention to vote on Initiative 16, the PAUSE Act. Respondents were randomly selected to receive one of three treatment messages: either a not-for-profit, university, or governmental sourced message. Each treatment had a set of three unique messages, each attributed to a different source within the given source type. After receiving the messaging, respondents were asked about their attitudes, risk perceptions, and voting intentions regarding the PAUSE Act. While there was no statistically significant difference in how respondents perceived not-for-profit, university, and governmental sources, researchers did discover how respondents seek information when making agriculture and natural resource voting decisions. These studies will help provide communicators and marketers in the animal agriculture space to better serve the needs of consumers to allow them to make well informed, educated, and confident decisions.

Advisor: Taylor K. Ruth

Included in

Communication Commons