Field expertise in rural land management
This paper explores the expertise of field-level advisors in rural land management. The context is the English uplands and negotiation over a Higher Level Stewardship agreement. An observed encounter between a hill farmer, his retained land agent, and an ecologist working for Natural England illustrates the multiple roles that field-level advisors have in regulating, directing, and influencing contemporary land management. The paper draws on field notes taken during work shadowing and in-depth interviews, to reflect upon the relationships that constitute field expertisenot only between farmer and advisor, but amongst the advisors too (and those who advise them). We argue that expert–expert interaction and the emergence of networks of practice are crucial to the development of field expertise and are key factors in the increasing complexity of the decision making underpinning contemporary land management. Keywords: field expertise, farm extension, rural land management, expert–expert interaction, networks of practice
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