Linking researchers, advisers and livestock farmers in a multidisciplinary approach to analysing working conditions on farms

Abstract : Work is an important issue for livestock farmers nowadays and this topic draws attention from researchers as well as from advisers. The French Livestock Institute piloted a three-year partnership project aimed at studying on-farm innovations to improve farmers' working conditions. This project developed a multidisciplinary approach combining economic, sociological and technical perspectives on livestock farmers' work, and involved researchers, advisers and farmers. We chose to involve farmers in the production of data, crossing the factual and descriptive data with their experiences and views, but also asking for their opinion on the results. We also involved actors in six different regions with two goals: to conduct investigations on farms and to enable the appropriation of the method by advisers. A team composed of researchers and extensionists was in charge of designing and managing the research programme based on on-farm interviews (a total of 55). In the questionnaire the three dimensions mentioned above were addressed through sociological, economical and organizational aspects. The participants of the team pooled their own knowledge and methods to build a common questionnaire. A test was arranged in some farms with advisers as interviewers and this enabled improvements to be made to the structure of the questionnaire and to the way questions were asked. Training for the interviewers was organized. Data processing at national and regional level provided several deliverables including a national analysis, six regional analyses, farm monographs, and publications for farmers and advisers. Several local meetings took place to discuss the results with the interviewees (farmers), the interviewers (advisers) and sometimes stakeholders. The participants of the project team now consider that linking researchers, advisers and farmers in this multidisciplinary approach was very profitable. All of them say they have expanded their vision and understanding of farmers' working situations and argue that this has led them to change their research or advice practices.
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F. Kling-Eveillard, Annie Dufour, Sylvie Cournut, Nathalie Hostiou, Sophie Chauvat, et al.. Linking researchers, advisers and livestock farmers in a multidisciplinary approach to analysing working conditions on farms. International Farming systeme Association, Apr 2014, Berlin, Germany. ⟨hal-02083438⟩

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