Darío Menanteau-Horta1

Results from a sociological study developed in the province of Colchagua, show the role played by the rural community in the diffusion of technical information as well as the influence of primary contacts locally established, in the adoption of innovations.
The study reveals the importance of considering rural communities as possible tactical units of some agricultural extension programs. Internal communicaton networks within those localities of residence, work and social participation, tend to demonstrate that rural structures not only diffuse technical information among its members but they also exert significant influence upon farmers decisions.
The sample included 244 farmers from the "comunas" of Chimbarongo, Placilla and San Fernando, in the province of Colchagua. The practices considered were nitrate, phosphate, certified seed and herbicides.
Seven out of ten farmers expressed they had learned about these techniques in their locality of residence and work. Similarly, the majority of those who adopted them recognized the influence of primary and local contacts on their decisions.

1Sociólogo chileno, Ph. D., Profesor de Sociología de la Universidad de Minnesota, EE.UU.