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2015 Spring - Will consumers stop agricultural technology?

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FPJ1203B - Arnot, C (2015), Building Trust When Science and Consumers Collide

FPJ1203B - Arnot, C (2015), Building Trust When Science and Consumers Collide, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 12, no. 3, Spring 2015, pp. 1-9, Surry Hills, Australia.

Fortified by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on scientific consensus in food production. How can the food system connect with consumers who reject science? The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) 2014 consumer trust research provides a model for making complex and controversial technical information relevant and meaningful – particularly to mums, millennials and foodies – bringing balance to the conversation, while helping consumers make informed decisions about food and building trust in today’s food system.

Technological advances in food and agriculture have provided countless benefits to society, but more must be done. Increased technology and innovation are needed in food production if there is to be enough food for a planet of 9 billion people by mid-century. Finding better ways to support the informed public evaluation of technologies and the food production system is a challenge. The goal should not be to win a scientific or social argument, but to find more meaningful and relevant methods to introduce science in a way that encourages thoughtful consideration and informed decision-making. How technical and scientific information is introduced is key to supporting informed decision-making.

CFI’s peer-reviewed and published model for building trust in today’s food system shows ‘confidence’ (shared values) is three-to-five times more important than ‘competence’ (skills and technical expertise or science) in building consumer trust. In other words, an increasingly sceptical public doesn’t care how much experts know until they know how much they care. A clear theme in CFI’s latest survey results is that food system experts can make a difference when they choose to engage by first establishing shared values and then providing factual, technical information that is relevant and meaningful. After confidence has been established, people are more willing to consider technical information, or competence, in their decision-making process.



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Farm Policy Journal - Vol 5 No 3 2008 August - Full Journal

Who will mind the farm? Tackling the rural skills shortage
August Quarter 2008, Volume 5, Number 3
Publisher - Australian Farm Institute


Towards a Better Understanding of Current and Future Human Resource Needs

The availability and suitability of labour in the Australian agriculture sector is an issue that has been of concern for a number of decades, but appears to have become more significant recently, for a number of reasons. These include the continual migration of young persons from rural to urban areas, an apparent decline in the number of persons opting for a career in agriculture, and competition for labour from
industries such as mining.

The first step in seeking solutions to improve the availability of labour in agriculture is obtaining a clear picture of both demand for and supply of labour in the sector. Unfortunately, this is not a simple task as currently available statistics do not provide a clear picture of the industry situation.

Labour statistics fail to capture seasonality, or use categorisations that are of little relevance to industry. Similarly, statistics concerning participation in education and training courses relevant to the sector use a number of different categorisation systems, and in recent years the publicly available higher education data has become almost completely irrelevant for agriculture, necessitating the unofficial collection of statistics to try and obtain some meaningful information about the real situation.

The research reported here has attempted to overcome these shortcomings in a number of ways. It aims to shed light on the labour situation in Australian agriculture and to identify actions that could be taken to improve it.
It is apparent that there are no silver bullets available, and that more concerted efforts are required firstly at the industry level, to position agriculture as an attractive career option, and secondly at the employer level to create better career paths with an increased focus on education and training.

Towards a Better Understanding of Current and Future Human Resource Needs of Australian Agriculture
aims to shed light on the labour situation in Australian agriculture and to identify actions that could be taken to improve it. The research, jointly funded by Horticulture Australia Limited, AgriFood Skills Australia and the Institute, involved a detailed examination of labour demand and supply statistics for the agriculture sector, an industry survey, and the development of future labour and demand supply scenarios over the next decade.

Full report
June 2010, pp. 1-113 (114 pages)
Publisher: Australian Farm Institute
Authors: AECgroup
ISBN 978-1-921808-01-2 (Web)
ISBN 978-1-921808-02-9 (Print)


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