Developing the capacity of farmers to understand and apply seasonal climate forecasts through collaborative learning processes

Cliffe, Neil and Stone, Roger and Coutts, Jeff and Reardon-Smith, Kathryn and Mushtaq, Shahbaz (2016) Developing the capacity of farmers to understand and apply seasonal climate forecasts through collaborative learning processes. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 22 (4). pp. 311-325. ISSN 1389-224X


Purpose: This paper documents and evaluates collaborative learning processes aimed at developing farmer’s knowledge, skills and aspirations to use seasonal climate forecasting (SCF). Methodology: Thirteen workshops conducted in 2012 engaged over 200 stakeholders across Australian sugar production regions. Workshop design promoted participant interaction, stimulated discussion, collected farmer experience of regional climate variability, improved understanding of climate drivers and increased participant skill in interpreting SCF linked to management decisions. Post-workshop surveys collected quantitative and qualitative data for statistical analysis and manual thematic coding. Findings: Over 68% of participants identified improved decision-making and risk reduction as the main benefits of using SCF products. High median self-evaluation ratings for gains in skills, knowledge and understanding of climate forecasts and perceived benefits in using climate forecasts in onfarm decision-making were found across stakeholder groups. No significant differences in self-evaluation rating gains were found between farmers, extension officers and millers, suggesting extension officers are less than optimally informed and skilled to support farmers in understanding and applying SCF. Practical Implications: Developing the capacity of extension officers to understand and interpret SCF may increase adoption of improved climate risk management in farmer networks. Theoretical implications: Collaborative learning activities in the agriculture sector, designed using experiential learning principles and evaluated using a logical framework, provide a robust model for improving the capacity of farmers to manage climate risk. Originality/Value: This paper contributes an example of evaluation of collaborative learning in facilitated agriculture climate risk workshops and discusses the value of learning through small group discussion.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 01:56
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2018 04:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: collaborative learning; small group discussion; seasonal climate forecasting; agricultural climate risk; extension; sugar cane farming
Fields of Research (2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300208 Farm management, rural management and agribusiness
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410499 Environmental management not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3999 Other Education > 399999 Other education not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management
B Economic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8998 Environmentally Sustainable Information and Communication Services > 899899 Environmentally Sustainable Information and Communication Services not elsewhere classified
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