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What May Be Needed to Change Farmers’ Perception of Using Climate Predictions in Farming Decisions. Qi S. Hu 1 , Lisa M. PytlikZillig 2 , Kenneth G. Hubbard 1 , Gary D. Lynne 3 , and Roger H. Bruning 2 1. School of Natural Resources
Qi S. Hu1, Lisa M. PytlikZillig2, Kenneth G. Hubbard1,
Gary D. Lynne3, and Roger H. Bruning2
1. School of Natural Resources
2. Center for Instructional Innovation, and
Department of Educational Psychology
3. Department of Agricultural Economics
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0987
“People (and not only managers) trust only their own understanding of their world as the basis of their actions” de Geus (1994)(They don’t take actions simply because they are told to do so. This is especially true for farmers!)
Largely by overlooking that decision-making nature of farmers, most expert or decision-making support systems designed for “knowledge transfer” from researchers to farm decision makers have failed! (McCown 2005)
How such subjective knowledge is developed?Through learning: this learning is not from the traditional expert systems that tell farmers the “best solution/decision” for specific situations (assuming farmers should use the solution for their own good). Rather, this learning is through use of research (weather and climate) products by intermediaries in situations of farming practice.
In these intermediaries farmers generate their own experiences of constructing personal and subjective knowledge that is relevant to actions for the situation.
A model of such a decision support intervention system to improve farmers’ understanding and use of climate information and products in farming decisions is developed in this study.
In this intervention system, farmers are put in practical situations (scenarios) and asked to make decisions. In decision-making, farmers are first making their decisions as they would normally do. Then, they are introduced to various weather and climate products and offered text or audio coaching for understanding and interpreting the products. Furthermore, farmers have access to “consultant” suggestions as to how the climate information in the products may be used in making the specific farming decision. Farmers can discuss their decision-making with their peers.
Through these intermediary processes farmers will learn specifics of various weather and climate products and their usages to specific farming decisions. This learning will help farmers in constructing their personal and subjective knowledge of the climate products and building experience of using them in farm decision-making.
Summary: A more effective way of transitioning climate information and knowledge to farmers decision-making is by engaging farmers in learning and constructing them personal and subjective knowledge of the climate products and their usages in various situations. With such knowledge, actions will be taken with more use of climate products in farming decisions.