AGRIDEA Lindau, 8315 Lindau

How to optimize agricultural extension for a successful farm management?

Production costs play a key role in the competitiveness of agricultural enterprises. In the past, various actors in agricultural consultancy and education offered advanced training, but the number of participants remained below expectations. To investigate the reasons for this low participation and determine measures for improvement, the Opticost working group conducted semi-structured interviews with experts who were project managers, consultants and participants in five economic advanced training projects in Swiss agriculture. The group also interviewed consultants from economic training projects on French, German and Austrian agriculture and from another project outside this sector in Switzerland. The analysis of the expert interviews was carried out according to Meyer (2009), the theoretical coding according to Böhm (1994). The results showed that a distinction could be made in the target group between innovative and reactive participation behavior patterns. Persons with innovative behaviour patterns participated in the advanced training programmes out of their own initiative, whereas persons with reactive patterns participated out of operational necessity. In the configuration of the training programmes, the importance of educational demands and target groups orientation influenced the composition of the participants. Direct communication showed the best effect in raising the awareness of the participants. Lastly there should be more adaptation to the target group in future, and more agricultural associations, consultants, fiduciaries etc. should be included.

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