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Targeting Extension based on farmer preferences and motivation

Ian Tarbotton and Sarah Speight

Dexcel, Newstead, Private Bag 3221, Hamilton New Zealand, Email


Dexcel is a New Zealand dairy farmer owned Centre of Excellence which integrates systems research, development, extension and education in the one organization.

There has been a team who have collated extension theory, adult learning principles and combined them with qualitative exploration of farmer preferences for how they wanted extension support and service in their region. A new direction in extension has been defined and is being implemented. Emphasis is on farm decision making and practice change through cluster and focusing, as well as on continuity of learning support. Co-learning is a feature of the approach as refinements will continue to be made.

Three key pillars of this work are (1) the understanding and segmenting farmers into common clusters; (2) exploration and specification of farmer needs derived from a “theme prompt” approach, and; (3) monitoring and evaluation to inform ongoing improvements in activities and to assess the impact the extension makes. This work is partially implemented and so results and learning to date will be presented.

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