New environmental policies in agriculture require farmers to develop new skills for the way in which they farm. This presents significant challenges for the providers of education, information, training and advice—the Agricultural Knowledge Network (AKN). Currently, farmers have, at best, an ambivalence towards the environment and as a result, interest in the acquisition of new environmental skills is low. Certain characteristics of the British AKN exacerbate this. It too is trying to adjust to environmental imperatives but remains predominantly production oriented in terms of both staffing and skills offered. The increasing market orientation of the British AKN also underplays the provision of environmental skills transfer and an increasing range of skills providers is confusing and off-putting for farmers. To improve farmers» environmental skills the AKN needs to be better co-ordinated and have clearer mechanisms of quality control. Both farmer involvement in environmental policy formulation and compulsory reskilling as part of environmental schemes will improve farmers» ability to adjust to environmental imperatives in agricultural policy.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 1997
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