Report Synopsis

Innovative disruption of farmer development programmes

Roberta McDonald

Our agriculture and food environment is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Modern day technologies have broadened the access to information and people. We have greater transparency and communication, resulting in volatility in world commodity markets. The decisions farmers will need to make over the next decade will only become more challenging and heighten the need for ever-improving farm management. International studies have found that many technologies which would be financially beneficial to dairy farmers are not being adopted.

Our possible futures include the ‘write-off’ approach; where people who are not up to date with technology changes and improvements are laggards and will ‘fall out’ of the industry. This will result in larger farms and less people farming in rural areas. An alternative future- the ‘reflective’ approach; is much more inclusive where we, as an industry, examine farmer development programmes and ask ourselves have we tried everything? If we can work on disrupting the approach to farmer development programmes positively to be all-inclusive, does it have the potential to result in improved farm profitability where rural populations will also be maintained.

The future of people development needs to be disrupted by innovative means. Is it a workable people development framework for our future industry? This report will reflect on these questions and scratch the surface of adult learning specifically to do with farmer development programmes.

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