Farmer Researchers Reap More Benefits Than Just Increased Crop Production


Farmers have been innovators and experimenters for millennia. 

Farmers have been innovators and experimenters for millennia. They developed new types of crops and methods of farming.

Agronomic researchers – the scientists who study how our food is grown – have been working on their own fields. When they make new discoveries, they transfer the knowledge they’ve gained through workshops and publications to farmers.

A few decades ago, farmers and researchers began working together more closely. This “on-farm research” allows farmers a chance to work side-by-side with researchers. Collaborations like this allow for the testing of new agriculture products and methods in real-world conditions.

Laura Thompson and her team were interested to determine what motivated farmers to participate in on-farm research. So, their group at the University of Nebraska interviewed the 140 farmer-researchers in their network. The results, recently published in Agronomy Journal, can help future collaborations improve processes – and perhaps increase the number of farmers involved.

Read more at American Society of Agronomy

Image: Nathan Mueller (left), a Nebraska extension educator, and Ryan Siefken (right), a Nebraska farmer, assess an on-farm research study in east central Nebraska looking at soybean planting population. (Credit: Laura Thompson)