18 April 2009

Identifying farm forestry information needs

The farm forestry sector in Australia is diverse and requires information on a wide range of issues. Different groups also like to seek information in a range of different ways. 

This RIRDC study reports on a survey of farm foresters, extension and industry: Who needs information? What do they need: what type of information and what form? How aware are they of existing information? How do they currently obtain information? How do they prefer to receive future information about farm forestry?

The survey found that the key information needs relate to financial, legal and policy aspects; environmental products, services, credits and trading; forestry products and markets; and farming systems including integrating farm forestry for environmental outcomes.

The preferred ways of accessing information about farm forestry were also diverse. Personal advice, along with trials and demonstrations were highly preferred. Written forms of information (web, research reports, newsletters and fact sheets) also rated very highly as preferred means of accessing farm forestry information. Discussion groups were thought to be potentially helpful...

Implications identified by the authors: "To suit the diverse preferences, there is need to make farm forestry information available in a wide range of formats including both written (reports, web, fact sheets) and interactive forms (personal advice, trials and demonstrations, discussion groups and training courses). These need to be specifically tailored to suit the issue and the audience.

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