With the current UK welfare policy context about to change with the decision to leave the EU, there is a need for the incorporation of novel ‘participatory’ approaches to knowledge production and innovation. The aim is to strengthen the adaptability and resilience of farmers to manage this change and stay profitable and productive. Facilitated farmer-led or farmer-centric innovation and research initiatives are an important tool for managing this type of radical change. Several farmer-led initiatives are already happening on the ground and there is also a growing awareness of the concept e.g. via Country File, the Archers, and the farming press.
The RAU stimulates and facilitates this type of farm and land-based practitioner-led innovation. By putting science into practice and collaborating with industry we off a co-solution for complex agriculture challenges.
Programme Initiatives include:
- Farm based innovation workshops on the use of new technologies such as robotics and the use of sensor-derived data.
- The establishment of Farm Innovation Syndicates to identify, evaluate and adopt innovation opportunities in conjunction with, for example, the Soil Association’s Innovative Farmers initiative.
- Working with networks of farmers interested in exploring the value of new technology / husbandry innovations, farmers will be encouraged to identify knowledge gaps, develop robust on-farm trials of specific technology & apply for relevant grants.
Several famer-led initiatives are already happening on the ground and the RAU recently initiated the Farmer-Led Initiative Network (FLIN); a network of organisations working together to promote the approach and ‘power-up’ farmer-centred innovation and research in the UK.