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ERIC Number: EJ830816
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 19
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1389-224X
Extension in Tough Times--Addressing Failures in Public and Private Extension, Lessons from the Tasmanian Wool Industry, Australia
Hunt, Warren; Coutts, Jeff
Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, v15 n1 p39-55 Mar 2009
This paper reports research on the impact of introducing a range of extension approaches into the wool-growing regions of Tasmania Australia to meet an emerging knowledge and skills gap in the sector. The wool-growing industry of the state has experienced minimal government extension support for over 15 years. There is a failure in both private and public-sector extension services in meeting the current collective needs of the industry. A new industry funded initiative funded by the grower body Australian Wool Innovation Ltd and hosted with the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research (TIAR), an arm of the University of Tasmania, is filling this void. The approaches included the establishment of grower groups, workshops, demonstrations and newsletters in a coordinated extension programme. The research interest lay in learning of the value of these different approaches in developing and maintaining sustainable sheep and wool production systems in the state. The research methodology involved evaluating change according to Bennett's hierarchy. Techniques used included surveys of participants from respective industry segments and analysis of relevant secondary information and data. Findings indicate that the programme has affected substantial on-ground changes in stock and property management by businesses involved. There was evidence of group members taking a more strategic view of their businesses from involvement in the programme. Group members (65%), industry active (53%) and service sector (65%) survey respondents indicated that the biggest outcomes of their involvement were improved technical or management skills. Members of groups and service-sector respondents saw even more impact (70%) on improved information seeking skills. The interactive and passive extension methodologies employed in this initiative have positioned the programme as a catalyst for change amongst producers, and have served as a mechanism to fill a serious information vacuum in the industry. They also appear to have realised positive social capital outcomes within the grower community during the difficult circumstances of sustained drought. Finally, the segmentation of the extension target audience appears to be paying dividends in terms of programme delivery and resource allocation. (Contains 3 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia