Farmers Teaching Farmers
The Little River Landcare Group has devised and implemented a number of highly-successful programs over its existence but few could argue that the Farmer Teaching Farmers Program sits at the top of the tree.In 2007/08, 39 businesses from across the catchment were split into six small working groups, and from here the real learning began.
The success of this program contributed significantly to Little River Landcare Group winning the Rural Skills Australia Agricultural and Rural Development Award as part of the 2009 Australian Rural and Outback Awards.
What’s on in 2012?After a three-year break, the Farmers Teaching Farmers Program is back, with 12 businesses signed up to attend 10 sessions throughout 2012. They will host one of these days with a speaker to attend and cover a topic of their preference. We have 12 very excited businesses, keen to play a role in replicating the success of our inaugural 2007/08 program!
Some background on Farmers Teaching Farmers…
How did we come up with the idea?The Farmer Teaching Farmers concept was developed with a number of considerations, not least of which being the acknowledgement that landholders place more trust in other farmers than anyone else.
- The Little River Landcare Group wanted to encourage rural people to exchange their accumulated knowledge, not just talk about the weather and the kids at school over the boundary fence.
- The following points also contributed to the idea:
- Kids Teaching Kids program successfully developed by Aaron Woods from Firestarter Communications. Children teach their peers on a subject of their choice
- We wanted to take training onto farms. Often landholders would comment that they would love to have an “expert” onto their property
- Resource Consulting Services’ (RCS) runs a program called Executive Link, as an opportunity to graduates of its Grazing for Profit course. As part of Executive Link, landholders are placed into small groups to build a network of peers who act as a board. We wanted to simulate this network potential by grouping people together to build a support base and information sharing
- The Central West Catchment Management Authority (CWCMA) ran a program called ‘Farming Systems’, which involved 10 businesses who met for 20 days of training. The focus of this course was to develop innovation
- 6 groups, comprising of 39 businesses
- 5-6 days of training on farm for each group (total 41 sessions in total)
- Each business selected 5 topics from a list of approximately 80 options
- Each business had one session held on their property on a topic of their choice
- Understanding People
- Succession Planning
- Pasture Cropping
- Natural Sequence Farming
- Advanced Grazing Management
- Biological Agriculture
- Developing a Resilient Farm Business
- Holistic Management
- Soil Fertility and Phosphorus Buffering
- Biodiversity and Habitats
- Carbon Sequestration
- Cell Grazing Principles
- Ground water and Bore Management
- Farm Economics
- What the top 20% benchmarkers do differently
- Holistic Management Budgeting Module
- Water Planning and Reticulation
- Soil Fertility and Biology
- Pasture Walk
- High Input versus Low Input Comparisons
- Each session involved technical/formal learning sessions, accompanied by practical hands-on activities either in the paddock, or indoors
- Generous amounts of time were allocated for breaks, so that participants could ask questions and exchange ideas with their peers
- A total of 48,000 hectares were impacted by the engagement of these businesses
- At a cost of $109,000 in landholder in-kind contribution
- With an investment of $68,420 by the CWCMA
- Average cost / business = $1755 cash
- Average cost / hectare = $1.43
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