The modern farming environment has turned everything we thought we knew about extension on its head, Australian social researcher Nigel McGuckian told the Beef and Lamb Conference in New Zealand (2013).
Using Australia as an example, he pointed out that extension has evolved from the days when the focus was solely on production, simple solutions were ‘discovered’ by scientists, and change was led by the public sector, ‘telling’ farmers what to do.
Now, the focus has moved to sustainable, long-term productivity, and extension is no longer an isolated specialist field which stands alone. It is recognised as a complex process involving system change.
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