Case study sites are an integral part of FAIRWAY. In the Anglian Region case study in England, a social science approach is being taken to understand farmer motivation for uptake of ‘best practice’ for farm management systems to mitigate on farm pesticide use, with a specific reference to the use of metaldehyde (for slug control) and its impact on drinking water bodies. In conjunction with Anglian Water, the FAIRWAY team from the University of Lincoln is looking at the development of innovative approaches to farmer engagement based on mulitple actor platforms (MAPs).
One of these approaches is to hold Knowledge and Innovation Days (KIDs). The concept was developed as a result of the increasing awareness of the need to approach farmer engagement from the ‘bottom-up’ (as in the MAPs). The aim is to develop a programme addressing the complexity of the environmental, economic and technological developments which directly affect the farmers and their businesses’ needs, whilst also addressing issues regarding farmer wellbeing.
The KID events have been piloted in the Cringle Brook catchment in South Lincolnshire and KID2020 was held on 3 March. The event compared two cultivations systems, demonstrating how small changes could potentially keep farm inputs in the field. Herbicide resistance, a huge concern for farmers, was also addressed. Its success was due to the relevance of the main themes to the farmer and the wider industry. This has been achieved by taking into consideration the farmers’ needs though discussion and feedback from previous KID events. The farmers know that KID events provide relevant knowledge and skills, up to date information, links with research and an ambience that enables exchange of ideas for the industry. 100% of attendees requested another such event. This tailored and targeted approach which is part of the MAP process could be an option for future farmers engagement.