Reading more

Written by Chris Fellows

We have recently taken part in an Innovate UK competition to try and encourage farmers to read from formal material.  Trial results, papers, research, on-farm projects and so forth.  The assumption being that farmers who are better informed, make better decisions and thus become more profitable or sustainable (or both hopefully).  This same aim being the reason behind this magazine and Groundswell starting at the same time.  We wanted to give farmers a view on farming knowledge that wasn’t available through conventional sources. This concept was also peer reviewed in a paper by Sumane et al (2018).  Farmers who read more information from more sources are more resilient.

Has been an interesting exercise.  Some great ideas, like how to integrate video content into this knowledge exchange process, which we already do in Resources on The Farming Forum. It is hard to link contextually without a transcript of the video. This really makes you think about the overall KE landscape when faced with a problem.

As part of the process, we built TFF Resources to test how we could put formal and informal content on the same site and test ways to present and promote it.  The first think to note is that TFF Resources now contains over 1200 pieces of knowledge.  We have included many around the regen and conversation ag topics.  Its has also in the last 4 months generated over 150,000 reads of this content organically.  We intend to increase this to over 10,000 knowledge pieces over the next few years and create a library of information.  But the real challenge is how you help farmers navigate that information and “suggest” what to read next.  That is, the content that they will find most interesting and relevant.   We don’t have all the answers right now, but a solution will help farming as a whole and balance some of the commercial bias that sits behind so much of the knowledge we currently read.

Have a look at the TFF Resources sections and see what you can find of interest: