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How Farmers Learn: Different Approaches to Change
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-25, 22:52 authored by Susan KilpatrickSusan Kilpatrick, Johns, S
This paper presents findings of an Australian study1 that investigated how farm- management teams go about learning to manage their businesses, including how they learn in order to make strategic and tactical changes. The Australian farming context is one of increasing complexity and risk that demands greater sophistication and professionalism in farm management. Learning is related to increased capacity to manage successful change. Farm-management teams employ four different learning patterns when making changes to their management and marketing practises. Learning patterns are termed local focussed, people focussed, outward looking and extensive networking. These patterns appear to be related to ongoing learning practices of farmmanagement teams as well as to learning for change. Local focussed management teams learnt for change by accessing only local sources (including government extension services) or a single individual. People focussed farm-management teams preferred to learn for change principally by seeking information and advice on a one-to-one basis from more than one person, most frequently experts, but often other farmers. The remaining farm businesses accessed a variety of sources. The group classed as extensive networkers accessed a large number of varied sources in learning for change. Others who used a less extensive range were termed outward looking.
Publication titleThe Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension