Contract number

V4-2020

Department:

Department of Animal Science

Type of project

ARRS projects

Type of project

CRP projects

Role

Partner

Duration

01.11.2020 - 31.10.2023

Value of co-financing

€54,230.00

Total

€12,000.00

Project manager at BF

Juvančič Luka

ABSTRACT

A good understanding of knowledge and learning processes is crucial for the implementation of agricultural practices that are in line with the objectives of environmental protection and nature conservation. Familiarity with and acceptance of environmental objectives by farmers is an important prerequisite for the successful implementation of environmentally friendly agricultural technologies, use of higher environmental standards (e.g. organic production) in market positioning and integration into environmental agricultural policy instruments such as agri-environmental payments. New needs require changes in the traditional areas of operation and structure of advisory services, which are reflected in the expansion of the competencies of agricultural advisers and inclusion of new professions and organisations. Reflection is also needed regarding different methods of knowledge transfer that are more comprehensive and tailored to local needs.

Stakeholders and farmers in Slovenia are dissatisfied with the existing knowledge transfer system, which is reflected in the declining interest in participating in AES operations and the untapped marketing potential of agricultural production that is environmentally 'above standard'. The need for the better integration of environmental and conservational knowledge into the existing agricultural advisory system and the change of advisory methods is becoming clear. According to farmers, the latter should be based more on the local application of knowledge through field trips and  demonstrations, while training should take place on a more individual level or in small groups.

The research project aims to analyze innovative approaches to the knowledge transfer in the field of nature conservation and environmental protection in agriculture, to test their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness and to establish a system of indicators and methodologies for evaluating agricultural policy measures. 

The project is based on intensive cooperation with the national public Agricultural Advisory Service and includes various activities for the transfer of project results and experience into the practice of agricultural extension in Slovenia. To this end, we have formed an interdisciplinary research group that includes, in addition to researchers from the fields of agricultural economics and policy, didactics of biology and experts with specific nature conservation expertise, the active participation of the public agricultural advisory service (JSKS).

The expected results of the project are designed with the aim of direct and effective transfer into practice. Among them, we highlight the following: 

  • Determination of the indicators and methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of knowledge transfer measures; 
  • Establishment of a study group of agricultural advisers and trainees; 
  • Conceptual design of a network of demonstration farms; 
  • Proposals for relevant knowledge transfer measures in the framework of agricultural policy.

 

THE PHASES OF THE PROJECT AND THEIR REALIZATION

The work will take place in six work packages, which are briefly described below:

WP0: Project coordination and management
This is a technical work package, which is entirely dedicated to the successful implementation and quality control of project results.

WP1: Review of approaches to knowledge transfer and analysis of usage cases 
It is dedicated to the review of approaches to knowledge transfer in the field of environmental protection and nature conservation in agriculture. The emphasis will be on approaches that are also relevant in the context of Slovenian agriculture. An assessment of the suitability of various new approaches to knowledge transfer will be carried out, especially in light of the experience of previous knowledge transfer activities within the framework of agri-environmental policy in Slovenia.

WP2: Methodology for evaluating knowledge transfer measures and determination of the initial state of indicators
Based on a review of relevant sources and previous experience, we will develop a set of indicators for the needs of monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of knowledge transfer, which will include performance, result and impact indicators. The system of indicators will be pilot-tested on a sample of farms and the results will be evaluated using advanced statistical methods (EFA, CFA, structural models).

WP3: Analysis of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the selected approaches to knowledge transfer 
This work package is intended to test the effectiveness of different approaches to the transfer of topical knowledge in agriculture. In the format of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) with a group of agricultural holdings divided into test groups, we will perform various forms of knowledge transfer on different topics. The effectiveness of different approaches to knowledge transfer will be evaluated in accordance with the doctrine of pedagogical research and econometrically. Cost-effectiveness of selected knowledge transfer methods will be evaluated by using cost-benefit analysis.

WP4: Recommendations for planning agri-environmental policy measures and putting them into practice
Its aim is to transfer the acquired knowledge into practice and ensure the longevity of results. Based on the research results and the legal and institutional framework of agricultural policy in Slovenia, we will prepare a set of measures for the transfer of knowledge in the field of environmental and nature protection and related to the agricultural use of resources. The project will also contribute to the establishment of
more efficient approaches to the knowledge transfer by training a study group of agricultural advisers and trainees. The framework for gaining experience and competencies of farmers through practical training will be also provided by preparing a conceptual design of a network of demonstration farms.

WP5: Communication and dissemination of results
Through communication and dissemination activities, we intend to sensitize actors along the chain of knowledge exchange on the topics of environmental and nature protection in agriculture: 

  1. policy makers by preparing a proposal for a set of knowledge transfer measures and expert bases for their monitoring and evaluation; 
  2. public agricultural advisory service through staff training and preparation of support materials; 
  3. farmers by involving them in the planning process for future knowledge transfer activities that better meet their needs; and 
  4. the R&D community by publishing scientific papers and presentations at scientific and expert events.

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