Research Reports

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International Grains Extension Models and Future Directions for the Australian Grains Industry Extension System

This sub-project involved both a desktop review of the main agricultural extension models that are utilised in selected overseas locations, as well as brief in-country visits to gain a clear understanding of how the particular extension model operates from the perspective of both practitioners and the target audience (farmers). Important matters investigated included the policy rationale behind the provision of extension services, the level of resources available for agricultural extension activities in both the public and private sectors, the views of participants about the strengths and limitations of the system, and key decision-makers’ perceptions about likely future developments in agricultural extension systems in each country.

This sub-project involved structured interviews with relevant senior personnel in public- and private-sector organisations, as well as discussions with farmer groups and researchers about the merits and limitations of the system that currently operate within each nation. The three target nations chosen for the research were the US (which has a long-established public extension system based on Land Grant Universities), Brazil (which has a diverse and developing system that is a mix of both public- and private-sector extension systems) and Denmark (which has what is essentially a private-sector extension system).

The final part of the research involved the development of recommendations about a potential future grains industry extension ‘system’ in Australia, taking into account the various changes that are occurring in the sector, and changes which are projected to occur in the future. These included, in particular, the growth in scale and sophistication of grain farms, the universal and rapid availability of technical information relevant to farm production; the growth in private-sector advisory services, the development of ‘smart’ systems that have the ability to enhance farm decision-making, and the mix of private-benefit and public-benefit information that needs to be conveyed to farm business managers.

Full report: pp. 1-71 (86 pages), September 2014

Optimising future extension systems in the Australian grains industry
Part 3: International grains extension models and future directions for the Australian grains industry extension system

Australian Farm Institute

Authors: Keogh, M, Julian, C

ISBN 978-1-921808-35-7 (Print and Web)



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Background, Literature and Demographics of the Australian Grain Production Sector

A limited review of available literature and data pertinent to agricultural extension both in Australia and internationally was carried out as part of the research. This was confined to the most recent publications and focused in particular on publications detailing approaches being adopted by major international agencies, and by the major bioscience organisations that service the grains industry both in Australia and internationally. International agencies such as the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have undertaken research into agricultural extension models and effectiveness in recent times, and also maintain some national-level data on resources.

The objective of extension services is to encourage farmers to adopt new or different technologies and systems that improve farm productivity and profitability. It is therefore important that a clear understanding exists of the demographics of the target population (in this instance Australian grain growers) and how that population is changing over time. The second sub-project of this research involved a review of available data about the changing demography of grain producers in Australia.

Full report: pp. 1-50 (64 pages), September 2014

Optimising future extension systems in the Australian grains industry
Part 1: Background, literature and demographics of the Australian grain production sector

Australian Farm Institute

Authors: Keogh, M, Julian, C

ISBN 978-1-921808-33-3 (Print and Web)


The Public and Private Sector Grain Advisory Systems in Australia

Report 2 of the research involved a review of the various ways in which public-sector grains extension systems currently operate in different Australian jurisdictions. The research involved desktop reviews of the underlying policy rationales that underpin agricultural extension services and the stated strategies of major extension agencies, supplemented with structured interviews with key personnel in each of the major state agencies.

In the case of the private-sector organisations, there were no available data providing details about the private-sector grains advisory ‘system’ in Australia. The research for this component of the project therefore involved a survey of private-sector grain advisors, seeking to gain a better understanding of the people that work in the system, and the nature of their activities. A focus of this research was on gaining an understanding of the interaction between the public and the private sector.

Full report: pp. 1-76 (92 pages), September 2014

Optimising future extension systems in the Australian grains industry
Part 2: The public and private sector grain advisory systems in Australia

Australian Farm Institute

Authors: Keogh, M, Julian, C

ISBN 978-1-921808-34-0 (Print and Web)


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