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How Farmers Learn: Different Approaches to Change


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Kilpatrick, S and Johns, S 2003 , 'How Farmers Learn: Different Approaches to Change' , The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, vol. 9, no. 4 , pp. 151-164 .

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This paper presents findings of an Australian study1 that investigated how farm- management teams go about
learning to manage their businesses, including how they learn in order to make strategic and tactical changes.
The Australian farming context is one of increasing complexity and risk that demands greater sophistication
and professionalism in farm management. Learning is related to increased capacity to manage successful
change. Farm-management teams employ four different learning patterns when making changes to their
management and marketing practises. Learning patterns are termed local focussed, people focussed, outward
looking and extensive networking. These patterns appear to be related to ongoing learning practices of farmmanagement
teams as well as to learning for change. Local focussed management teams learnt for change by
accessing only local sources (including government extension services) or a single individual. People
focussed farm-management teams preferred to learn for change principally by seeking information and
advice on a one-to-one basis from more than one person, most frequently experts, but often other farmers.
The remaining farm businesses accessed a variety of sources. The group classed as extensive networkers
accessed a large number of varied sources in learning for change. Others who used a less extensive range
were termed outward looking.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Kilpatrick, S and Johns, S
Keywords: Learning in agriculture, Lifelong learning Change
Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
ISSN: 1389-224X
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