EP Farmer Survey 2020 Soil CRC Report

The 2020 Eyre Peninsula social benchmarking survey is part of this national Soil CRC project led by Dr Hanabeth Luke of Southern Cross University (SCU), jointly funded by the Soil CRC, Ag Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula (AIR EP, a CRC partner) and the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board. Data gathered will contribute to wider Soil CRC research efforts. For example, Soil CRC researchers will be able to explore farmer knowledge of soil heath and management; the impact of farmer participation in soil health groups; and the implementation of best practice soil management by farmers.

The overall survey design was developed in the early stages of the national social benchmarking survey project, building on the work of Professor Allan Curtis1 and team. The general approach is that mail-out surveys are sent out to either a random selection or to all landholdings in a region over ten hectares (10 ha) in size. They include questions on farmers’ actual and intended practices, the challenges they face, and aspirations for the future. Important background information is also collected on farm management styles and farmer values, as well as items that focus on self-assessed knowledge of, and confidence in, best practice, and perceptions of risk.

This project will ultimately collate a dataset of national significance, showing both breadth and depth of information on factors involved in on-farm decision-making for Australian farmers. The key strength of this project is that the general survey approach is customised through collaboration with regional partners to ensure regional relevance. Whilst a core of questions remains to enable cross-survey comparisons and the development of the national dataset, each region has different priorities which are built into the survey instrument. In this way, each survey report can directly inform strategic planning and decisions around present and future directions, whilst providing clear pathways toward better engagement between the Soil CRC partners’ regional farmer base in their activities.

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