Identifying Publics in Citrus Producing States to Address the Issue of Citrus Greening

Taylor Ruth, Alexa J Lamm, Joy N Rumble, Jason D Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Citrus greening is a critical issue facing the agricultural industry in the United States. The disease has been identified in residential and commercial areas, and there is a need to identify best practices in communicating with the public about the disease. The Situational Theory of Publics (STOPs) uses audience segmentation to determine how to best communicate with target consumers and was used to guide this study. The purpose of the study was to determine the types of publics present in the citrus producing states of Florida, California, and Texas as they relate to citrus greening. An online survey was completed by 1,541 respondents in the states of interest. The majority of respondents in all three states had low issue involvement and high knowledge related to citrus greening. The publics were categorized as active, aware, aroused, and inactive, and differences were noted across demographic categories. There were also differences in the types of publics present across states; Florida had the largest percent of active publics. Communication in Florida should use calls to action to encourage specific behaviors from the active public, but agricultural communicators in Texas and California need to focus messages and campaigns on increasing issue involvement related to citrus greening. Future research should test messages about citrus greening using focus groups to gain a greater understanding of consumers’ information seeking behaviors related to the disease.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • citrus greening
  • audience segmentation
  • publics
  • communication campaign


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