THE CHANGING INFORMATION NEEDS OF FARMERS IN THE U.S. AND EUROPE

Both policy and market forces are causing unprecedented changes in agricultural structure and management in both the United States and in Europe. These changes will have profound impacts on the role of universities and extension services who provide information and education to farmers. This paper discusses some of the emerging and anticipated changes in information content and delivery in both the US and the EU. Some of the primary issues US agricultural producers will need to address as a result of the changes in the agricultural industry and policy include: strategic positioning, transferring management capabilities, frequent performance monitoring, evaluating new technology, monitoring external factors, managing information, and accountability. The information needs of farmers in Europe are closely linked to the evolution of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union. The general agricultural policy framework is briefly presented in the paper. Price reduction, agri-environmental measures enhancement, and rural development policy are the most important elements of CAP reform. European agriculture is in the midst of major changes, mostly started in 1992, but destined to continue and increase in the near future. Different approaches to manage the agricultural sector involve the need for a different information system for farmers. It means not only new content in information, but also new ways to inform and do technical assistance. The primary information needs out are: farm management, risk management, EU programs and measures, quality production, low input and organic farming, marketing and advertising management, new technology introduction, structural adjustment funds management, investment decisions, rural tourism and recreational activities management. European agriculture is on the path to large and challenging changes. There is no way for farmers alone to manage these changes, and remain competitive in the market. Providing information has become the most important part of the extension activity. Information must include training sessions, demonstrations in the field, and assessment, together with the farmers, of the activities and the results obtained. There are many similarities in the farm management information needs of farmers in the US and EU. A critical factor for the Extension Services in the future is to adjust rapidly to the changes, and quickly develop new content and delivery plans for farmers' training. The challenge for universities and extension services to respond to the information needs will strain their resources. Collaborative efforts between our institutions may prove more valuable as faculty attempt to develop research and educational programs relevant to the emerging information needs. In addition, cooperation with the growing private sector agricultural education programs will probably be essential if public education and information delivery systems are to remain relevant.


Subject(s):
Issue Date:
1998
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/14496
Total Pages:
12
Series Statement:
Proceedings of the Sixth Joint Conference on Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, August 31 - September 2, 1998, Minneapolis, Minnesota




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-23

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