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The role of societies in farmer focussed research

Roger Johnson

The Regional Institute Ltd
PO Box 787 Gosford NSW 2250
rjohnson@regional.org.au
www.regional.org.au

Abstract

The Agronomy society continues a 400 year tradition of professional societies contributing to the advancement of knowledge. Despite the extraordinary advances and widespread adoption of information and communications technologies over the past decade, there is a significant gap between scientists and farmers and between farmer groups in their understanding of the science of farming systems. Notably, there is arguably little or no relevant information of practical value to farmers and researchers that is in freely available in accessible formats via the Internet.

The publication of research information ostensibly intended to advance understanding of agricultural systems is driven not by the needs of farmers, but rather by the career advancement of the academic and research sectors and by the profit margins of a small number of global publishing conglomerates. The incorporation of grower groups in recent years continues a trend towards producer driven research and development. The linkages between these groups and the Agronomy Society are strong.

This paper discusses the various roles and activities that are involved in organizing formal networks around related disciplines and the way in which the Internet can facilitate more rapid and effective exchange of information between these groups.

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