Open to Ideas: Information flows from Dairy Directions to Dairy Farmers
The ‘openness’ of farming systems that is the focus of this paper is ‘open to information’, in particular the way that new information from the farming systems research project, Dairy Directions, flows from research outputs to dairy farmers. Dairy Directions is a multidisciplinary research activity centred on a steering group of interested parties, mostly farmers, scientists and economists, but also drawing on extension agents, natural resource managers, water service providers, community service providers and public policy participants. The core general research question of Dairy Directions is ‘What options do farmers running different dairy farming systems have to achieve their goals in an uncertain future?’ The goals analysed by the project are predominantly economic and financial – maintaining or increasing profit and cash flow, growing wealth, managing risk, preparing for succession and balancing the dairy work-life balance. Their uncertain future encompasses variability in prices, as well as the natural environment and the policy setting.
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