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Empowering farmers for increased resilience in uncertain times


Nettle, R and Ayre, M and Beilin, R and Waller, S and Turner, L and Hall, A and Irvine, L and Taylor, G, Empowering farmers for increased resilience in uncertain times, Animal Production Science, 55, (7) pp. 843-855. ISSN 1836-0939 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

 CSIRO 2015

DOI: doi:10.1071/AN14882


As farmers continue to face increasingly uncertain and often rapidly changing conditions related to markets, climate or the policy environment, people involved in agricultural research, development and extension (RD&E) are also challenged to consider how their work can contribute to supporting farmer resilience. Research from the social sciences conducted in the past decade has focussed on adaptability or adaptive capacity as a key attribute for individuals and groups to possess for managing resilience. It is, therefore, timely to ask the following: do current ways of doing and organising RD&E in the dairy sector in New Zealand and Australia contribute to supporting farm adaptability? This paper reports on results from an examination of case studies of challenges to resilience in the dairy sector in Australia and New Zealand (i.e. dairy farm conversion, climate-change adaptation, consent to farm) and the contribution of dairy RD&E in enhancing resilience of farmers, their farms and the broader industry. Drawing on concepts from resilience studies and considering an empowerment perspective, the analysis of these cases suggest that, currently, agricultural RD&E supports adaptability in general, but varies in the strength of its presence and level of activity in the areas known to enhance adaptability. This analysis is used to generate principles for dairy scientists and others in the RD&E system to consider in (1) research designs, (2) engaging different farmers in research and (3) presenting research results differently. This represents a significant shift for the science and advisory communities to move to methods that acknowledge uncertainty and facilitate learning.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adaptability, role of RD&E, social networks
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Farm management, rural management and agribusiness
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Turner, L (Dr Lydia Turner)
UTAS Author:Hall, A (Miss Alison Hall)
UTAS Author:Irvine, L (Ms Lesley Irvine)
ID Code:102350
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2015-08-14
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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