Understanding Rural Practice Change

Rural Practice Change provides insights and lessons from research into adoption of new practices by farmers and other rural landholders. It includes freely available materials for professional development and information about events and publications involving a national team of Australian experts working in this field.

This site includes information about:

  • Review Paper, 2006: A major review paper was published on adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders. This paper was the impetus to establish this multi-disciplinary, multi-state alliance.

  • Melbourne Symposium 14th November, 2008: A set of video recordings of all presentations made at the Melbourne Symposium held at the University of Melbourne.

  • Perth Symposium 8th July, 2009: A second Symposium on rural practice change was held at the University of Western Australia. 

  • Book, 2011: A book called Changing Land Management: Adoption of New Practices by Rural Landholders was published on 1 March 2011.

  • ADOPT, 2011: A spreadsheet tool for exploring and predicting the level and speed of adoption of new agricultural practices. The BETA version of adopt has been released for testing.

  • Contact information for the core team leading the review and making the presentations.

Use the menu options at the top of the page to access all the presentations, publications, tools, sponsors, or to ask a question.

Core Team

Left to right: Geoff Kaine, Rick Llewellyn, Neil Barr, Allan Curtis, Frank Vanclay, Andrew Campbell, Dave Pannell, Roger Wilkinson, Graham Marshall

Geoff Kaine

Policy Research Leader, Department of Primary Industries, Tatura

Dr Geoff Kaine's fields of special competence include adoption of new technologies and practices by primary producers and market based instruments in natural resource policy.

Contact: geoff.kaine@dpi.vic.gov.au

Rick Llewellyn

Farming Systems Scientist, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems

Dr Rick Llewellyn has a background in adoption of agricultural research and in cropping systems. His research aims to contribute to the development of strategies for sustainable farming in southern Australia.  His expertise is in adoption of agricultural technology; integrated weed management; farming systems and extension; precision agriculture.

Contact: Rick.Llewellyn@csiro.au

Web site: http://people.csiro.au/L/R/Rick-Llewellyn

Neil Barr

Senior Social Researcher, Department of Primary Industries, Bendigo Centre

Dr Neil Barr's research interests include social change in Australian agricultural communities, social change and impact assessment in irrigation communities, adoption of new technology for management of dryland salinity and soil health, community involvement and consultation in catchment management and social research methodologies both quantitative and qualitative.

Contact: neil.barr@dpi.vic.gov.au

Allan Curtis

Professor, Charles Sturt University.

Professor Allan Curtis' research interests include the policy and institutional arrangements supporting catchment management, understanding rural landholder adoption, watershed organisations, and the evaluation of natural resource management programs. Current projects relate to capacity building, dryland salinity, Landcare, river frontages and wetlands, farm forestry, aquaculture and provision of social data to underpin catchment management.

Recent experience hasincluded work exploring adaptive management, triple bottom line reporting, public perceptions of risk in quarantine and aquaculture, preparing socio-economic profiles of catchment communities, and assessments of the socio-economic impact of changes in land use (forestry) and resource access (fishing, irrigation water).

Allan has extensive experience with the range of quantitative and qualitative social research methods and is a leading practitioner of mail survey techniques. The evaluation framework he helped develop is currently being used by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for the evaluation of the Australian Government's $120 million National Landcare Program.

Contact: acurtis@csu.edu.au

Web site: http://athene.riv.csu.edu.au/~acurtis/index.htm

Frank Vanclay

Professor, university of Groningen

Professor Frank Vanclay's research interests include social impact assessment, social aspects of natural resource management, environmental management, farming and agriculture.

Contact: frank.vanclay@rug.nl

Web site: http://www.rug.nl/staff/frank.vanclay/research

Andrew Campbell

Managing Director, Triple Helix Consulting

Mr Andrew Campbell has been at the cutting edge of natural resource management in Australia for 25 years. He has played influential roles in research (notably as CEO of Land and Water Australia from 2000-2006), in policy as a senior executive in the Australian Government, and in extension with the Victorian Government.  Andrew was instrumental in the development of Landcare, working with Rick Farley from the National Farmers' Federation and Phillip Toyne from the Australian Conservation Foundation to develop the proposal to then Prime Minister Bob Hawke that catalysed the Decade of Landcare. He was Australia's first National Landcare Facilitator from 1989-92.

Andrew’s family has been farming in western Victoria since the 1860s. 

Contact: andrew@triplehelix.com.au

David Pannell

Professor, School of Agricultural and environment, University of Western Australia;

Director of the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy, University of Western Australia

Professor David Pannell's research includes the economics of land and water conservation; environmental policy; farmer adoption of conservation practices; risk; and economics of farming systems. He is author of 200 journal articles and book chapters, with awards for research in the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK, including the 2009 Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Research. He also produces regular "Pannell Discussions" on these issues.

Contact: David.Pannell@uwa.edu.au

Web page: http://www.ceep.uwa.edu.au/     

Webpage: http://dpannell.fnas.uwa.edu.au/

Roger Wilkinson

Senior Social Researcher, Department of Primary Industries, Bendigo Centre

Mr Roger Wilkinson's research interests include social change in rural areas, adoption of new technology, perceptions of risk, social aspects of biotechnology community involvement and consultation and scientific and local knowledge.

Contact: roger.wilkinson@dpi.vic.gov.au

Graham Marshall

Director, Domestic Research, Institute for Rural Futures, university of new england

Dr Graham Marshall’s early career was as an agricultural and resource economist with the New South Wales Department of Agriculture, mainly working on natural resource issues (eg, soil salinisation and waterlogging) that southern Murray-Darling Basin irrigators were addressing through industry-based programs.  His research interests now extend to ecological economics, institutional economics, and common property studies. His current work focuses on community-based natural resource management (NRM), particularly where cooperation from farmers is important.

Graham is author of Economics for Collaborative Environmental Management: Renegotiating the Commons (Earthscan 2005). He leads the project ‘Improving economic accountability when using decentralised, collaborative approaches to environmental decisions’, and recently completed the projects 'Nesting community-based NRM for regional accountability and grassroots cooperation' and (with Dr Ian Patrick) ‘Linking smallholders and agribusiness: Social capital and rural development in eastern Indonesia’.

Contact: gmarshal@une.edu.au 

Web page: http://www.une.edu.au/staff-profiles/institute-for-rural-futures/gmarshal