Locally grown: Examining attitudes and perceptions about organic cotton production and manufacturing between Mississippi cotton growers and consumers
The objective of my undergraduate research project is to spread the awareness of cotton production methods, particularly organic cotton production, and how cotton affects everyday consumer lifestyles. By examining the attitudes and perceptions about organic cotton of Mississippi cotton growers and producers in comparison to fashion conscious consumers, the goal is to understand how consumers and growers/producers feel about organic cotton production in relation to the initiatives the industry is taking to move toward sustainability.
My expected research outcomes are that undergraduate students are not eager about paying the higher price for organic fabric unless the fabric is associated with a popular brand or retailer. Farmers benefit from the higher profit margin and the elimination of harmful chemicals, but farmers will not have significant understand about the organic cotton demand. After analyzing data from 60 research participants, there is a disconnect of information between regional cotton growers/producers and consumers based on the advantages/disadvantages of growing and production processes, quality control, consumer preferences, and competitive price structures/profit margins. It is beneficial for the industry to understand disconnect of information exists in the supply chain because until efforts are made to increase the transparency of information, the organic cotton industry's ability to create a sustainable future will remain limited.
During the Spring 2014 semester, I have been able to make significant progress towards my research goal with the help of my mentor Dr. Charles Freeman, and I have an overall better understanding of how cotton growers/producers and fashion conscious consumers perceive organic cotton production in this region. For further study, I hope to expand my sample size to include other regions and a broader consumer base so that I can compare the attitudes and perceptions of growers/producers and undergraduate students in Mississippi to the regions where organic cotton production is more popular.
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The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholars program is an immersive experience designed to engage undergraduate scholars in research and creative activities beyond the traditional undergraduate curriculum. In this 12-month experience undergraduate students will work as a junior colleague within a faculty scholar/mentor's research program to discover new knowledge, enhance their discipline-specific expertise, and gain critical thinking skills. Learn More