13 Jul 2015

Survey maps future landscape

8:19 pm on 13 July 2015

Landcare Research is asking farmers, foresters and growers to take part in a survey designed to show what the landscape may look in decades to come.

Dairy farm at Apiti, Manawatu.

Dairy farm at Apiti, Manawatu. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The survey of Rural Decision Makers was first held in 2013, in conjunction with the Ministry for the Environment. It proved so popular that Landcare Research now conducts it every two years.

The survey's director, economist Pike Brown, said it focused on what farmers were thinking, rather than figures such as the number of stock they had.

"There's lots of questions about how farms are managed and how forests are managed, questions about irrigation.

"We talk about novel technologies and we want to understand who are the people who have introduced robotic milking machines and who has introduced drones on their farms, for example.

"We ask about values, about people's willingness to take risk, why people chose to farm, whether they do it out of family tradition or whether it's something more important to them on a personal level."

Dr Brown said the 2013 survey revealed a range of interesting information.

"We found that there's different types of risk profiles among different groups of farmers ... we've been able to analyse that and try to understand who are the early adopters and who are the people that like to wait and see somebody else before they're willing to adopt a new practice.

"We've also been able to try to understand who are the people that are most likely to work with councils and with others in order to introduce best environmental practices, so there's been a lot of very interesting analysis around that type of thing."

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