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Danish Stable Schools for Experiential Common Learning in Groups of Organic Dairy Farmers

Vaarst, M.; Nissen, T.B.; Østergaard, S.; Klaas, I.C.; Bennedsgaard, T.W. and Christensen, J. (2007) Danish Stable Schools for Experiential Common Learning in Groups of Organic Dairy Farmers. Journal Dairy Science, 90, pp. 2543-2554.

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The farmer field school (FFS) is a concept for farmers’ learning, knowledge exchange, and empowerment that has been developed and used in developing countries. In Denmark, a research project focusing on explicit nonantibiotic strategies involves farmers who have actively expressed an interest in phasing out antibiotics from their herds through promotion of animal health. One way of reaching this goal was to form participatory focused farmer groups in an FFS approach, which was adapted to Danish conditions and named “stable schools.” Four stable schools were established and went through a 1-yr cycle with 2 visits at each of the 5 or 6 farms connected to each group. A facilitator was connected to each group whose role was to write the meeting agenda together with the host farmer, direct the meeting, and write the minutes to send to the group members ater the meeting. Through group focus interviews and individual semistructured qualitative interviews of all participants, the approach of the farmers’ goal-directed work toward a common goal was judged to be very valuable and fruitful and based on a common learning process. Complex farming situations were the focus of all groups and in this context, problems were identified and solutions proposed based on each farmer’s individual goals. In this article, we describe the experiences of 4 stable school groups (each comprising farmers and a facilitator), and the common process of building a concept that is suitable for Danish organic dairy farming.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:organic dairy farming, animal health planning, farmer empowerment, common experiential learning
Subjects: Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Deposited By: Holme, Ms. Mette
ID Code:13775
Deposited On:28 Jul 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:37
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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