Extention work for organic farmers S8
Hansen, Lisbeth Frank
Organic advisory service, Nordvestsjællands Landbocenter, DK-4450 Jyderup
|Farmers converting to organic farming experience
a great need for agricultural advise. This also applies to experienced organic farmers if
suddenly a problem occurs on their farm. This is concluded in a report from 1995 based on
a questionnaire to 158 potential users of organic advisory service in Denmark (Lisberg, M.
1995). Organic advisors have also experienced this great need for advise during the past
11 years they have been operating in Denmark.
Another experience shows that the kind of advisory service which is required by the experienced organic farmers and the converting farmers, respectively, differs widely. During conversion the farmers need strategic general advice regarding all aspects related to organic farm management. At this stage it is very important that the advisor has a positive attitude to the principles of organic farming. At a later stage when the farmers have become familiar with the principles of organic farming, it is less important whether the advisor is in favour of organic farming, as long as he or she is a competent specialist (within e.g. carrots).
At present the organic advisors have an overall knowledge of organic farming. It is difficultto become a specialist as the total number of organic farms is still too little to enable the advisors to specialize (within e.g. carrots). Consequently, organic farmers also consult conventional advisors who are more specialized. 57% of the farmers asked in the above mentioned report have consulted an organic advisor and had a good experience. However, the advisory service would become better if the organic advisor: 1) was able to give more precise advice 2) was more specialized. 58% of the farmers asked have consulted a local conventional advisor and had a good experience. However, the advisory service would become better if the conventional extension officer: 1) had more knowledge of organic farming 2) was more committed to organic farming.
Lisberg management, 1995: Brugerundersøgelse vedrørende økologisk rådgivning.