University of Tasmania
whole_KilpatrickSusanIsabel1998_thesis.pdf (18.82 MB)

Rural training programs : effectiveness and profitability

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posted on 2023-05-26, 20:34 authored by Susan KilpatrickSusan Kilpatrick
A diversity of groups including the National Farmers Federation, politicians and business leaders, stress the need for farmers to upgrade their skills in order to compete effectively on international markets. There are public demands for improved environmental management of farming land which require farmers to make changes in addition to those changes required for global competitiveness. These calls for change come at the same time as· Australia reforms its training system. The National Farmers Federation believes that farmers will be motivated to participate in education and training if it can be shown that training leads to changes which improve farm profitability. Hitherto there has been a lack of empirical data on the effectiveness of training in agriculture and a consequent uncertainty about what sort of training and which delivery modes are most effective in facilitating profitable changes to farm management or agricultural practice. A multi-method methodology was used in this study. A large sample of Australian farm businesses from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Agricultural Financial Survey 1993-94 provided cross-section, quantitative data on farm managers' education levels, recent and planned participation in training and changes to practice, in addition to financial data. The quantitative data were analysed within constraints imposed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in relation to confidentiality and the amount of technical support allowed for analysis. This quantitative data set is illuminated by a semi-structured interview survey of 65 Tasmanian farmers, 45 of whom had completed one of three agricultural courses. The methodology proved most appropriate with the quantitative and qualitative data providing a richer understanding of farmers, change, training and profitability. The findings relate to (i) the relationship between education/training and profitability, (ii) the relationship between training and change, and (iii) future training. Considering farm businesses of similar asset value, large farm businesses managed by those with formal, agricultural qualifications are more profitable than other farm businesses, and more profitable farm businesses of all sizes tend to participate in more training. Farm businesses where there are changes to practice which are intended to improve profitability are more profitable than those where there are no changes. Also, farm managers who participate in training are more likely to make changes to their practice. Whilst a large proportion of farm business managers intend to participate in some training in the next three years, most intend to participate in training about agricultural practices. In contrast, areas identified by 'experts' where practising farmers require training are management practices, marketing, and communication skills. Farm managers with a low level of education are less likely to train and less likely to intend to train in the future. The study makes some suggestions about program attributes which would contribute to effective training delivery in the future.


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Copyright 1997 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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