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Semester 2 - Dual-Delivery
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A common and important role that agricultural scientists play is supporting farmers to implement strategies for continuous improvement on-farm to achieve sustainability and productivity goals. This subject will introduce students to the principles of farm practice change and how change can be supported by effective advisory practices. These principles include: appreciating diversity amongst farmers and its implications for change; understanding theories of adult learning and how they apply to change management on-farm; recognising factors that influence farmer decision making; and the multiple advisory strategies for achieving change on-farm. This subject also introduces students to a practical toolbox of approaches that agricultural advisors use with their farmer clients to support decision-making including: mentoring; facilitated discussion; field visits; joint data analysis; and peer-to-peer learning.
Students will apply these principles to a farm case study where students, working in groups, interview a farm manager and then design an advisory strategy to support a particular farm practice change issue.
Topics covered in the subject include:
- Introduction to farms as complex adaptive systems
- Introduction to rural social research theories and methods to understand farm practice change from a farmer perspective
- Factors influencing farmer decision making (values, beliefs, worldviews, context)
- Context to farmer decision making: food policy and regulation, agricultural workforce & farm human resource management, natural resource management, rural community context, social licence and consumer preferences
- The role of agricultural advisors in supporting farm practice change
- Models of one-on-one agricultural advisory practice to support farm practice change and examples
- Tools and techniques for agricultural advisors to use to effectively support farm practice change
Intended learning outcomes
Upon completion of this subject students will be able to:
- Articulate the social factors affecting farm decision making and practice change in agriculture
- Examine and describe the different roles and capacities of agricultural advisors in supporting farm practice change
- Identify and compare different models of one-on-one agricultural advisory practice for supporting farm practice change
- Collect, analyse and interpret agricultural and environmental information in collaboration with farmers for appropriate decision making
- Describe a range of different knowledge transfer and communication tools and techniques for supporting farm practice change
- Critically evaluate and formulate farm practice change options to support farm practice change
- Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning and research
- Ability to derive, interpret and analyse ecological, biological, social, technical or economic information from primary sources
- Highly developed written communication skills to allow informed dialogue with individuals and groups from industry, government and the community
- Ability to participate effectively as part of a team
- Ability to plan work, use time effectively and manage small projects
Last updated: 29 July 2022