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Learning and Change Through Monitor Farms

Monitor Farm in-field discussion
Monitor Farm in-field discussion

This research explores principles underlying learning and change in relation to facilitated peer-to-peer learning opportunities, such as Monitor Farms. In this work we reflect on features associated with successful on-farm demonstration events by focussing on three key areas. These areas allow us to look in detail at how and why farmers might implement new innovations and practices:

  1. Conducting soil assessment as an example of best practice
  2. Working together in innovative ways
  3. Opportunities associated with different host farms and farmers.

Our research is primarily focussed on two case study farms involved in the 2016-2020 Monitor Farm programme (Lothians and Morayshire). Through these case studies we draw on opportunities for in-depth qualitative investigation and discussion with farmers and other stakeholders. This approach allows us to draw on experiences and perceptions of the current Monitor Farm programme, as well as individuals' wider experiences with other programmes and events, past and present. We also consider how on-farm demonstration might be undertaken to increase the uptake of practices that improve profitability, productivity and sustainability in the agriculture sector.

"Farming is more isolated than it's ever been because there's less people and the more you can bring people together, well, it boosts the morale in the farming industry, I think. But also shares ideas and I think that's - it's a win-win."



Interim findings

Download report here

Download summary here

Conference presentations

ESRS Congress Trondheim, June 2019


Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project
SEFARI – Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research InstitutesSEFARI is the collective of six Scottish world-leading Research Institutes working across the spectrum of environment, land, food, agriculture and communities – all topics which affect how we live our lives, in Scotland and beyond.


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.