Boundaries to change: insights into the change process of beef and sheep farmers
Turner, L and Wilkinson, R and Kilpatrick, S, Boundaries to change: insights into the change process of beef and sheep farmers, Rural Extension and Innovation Systems Journal, 13, (1) pp. 9-18. ISSN 2204-8758 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Extension programs aim to support farmers in achieving practice change, but often fail to deliver intended adoption outcomes. Understanding why and how farmers make decisions about change helps align extension approaches with farmer values, increasing the likelihood of recommended practice adoption. Interviews with 24 southern Australian sheep and beef farmers explored why and how farmers approach change. 'Boundaries to Change' emerged from a combined deductive and inductive thematic analysis of interviews: providing new insights into adoption based on conceptual Boundaries that constrain farmer decisions around change. The extent of change farmers are willing or able to make is associated with flexibility of Boundaries. Flexibility is influenced by motivating values and information seeking patterns. Farmer segments with particular combinations of Boundaries, values and information seeking patterns emerged, providing guidance for differentiating extension messages. Extension approaches informed by Boundaries to Change identify and respect farmer values, encourage adoption within existing Boundaries and support farmers' moving from firmer to more flexible Boundaries, accommodating practice change.
farmers, boundaries to change, adoption, extension, decision making, farmer segments