Agricultural demonstration events: what matters

Together with institutionalised further and higher education courses, exchanges between professional colleagues have an important role to play when it comes to introducing new ideas and technologies into farming practice. Accordingly, demonstration events have a long tradition in Switzerland. Until now there has been virtually no research into the factors influencing the impacts of farming demonstration events on the participants. As part of the EU PLAID project, a study of these events has been carried out across Europe. Taking a sample of two Swiss events, researchers used participant observation, questionnaires and interviews with organisers and participants, and inputs from a monitoring group to identify the most important factors for the success of demonstration events: 1. A clear programme, clear goals for the event, advertising tailored to the target group; 2. Optimal access for participants at various levels; 3. Relevant content and transferability to the participant’s own operation; 4. Interaction between participants; 5. Anchoring of the issue in the longer term, beyond the event. Rigorous implementation of these aspects can help to maximise the considerable potential of demonstration events in future.

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