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How Knowledge Transfer Impact Happens at the Farm Level: Insights from Advisers and Farmers in the Irish Agricultural Sector

Cawley, Anthony; Heanue, Kevin; Hilliard, Rachel; O’Donoghue, Cathal; Sheehan, Maura


Anthony Cawley

Kevin Heanue

Rachel Hilliard

Cathal O’Donoghue


Many studies show that interaction with agricultural advisory services impacts productivity and profitability on farms. However, less attention is paid to explaining how this impact is achieved. This paper explores the factors that determine the implementation of newly learned knowledge from advisory engagement to achieve an impact on farm level performance. Focusing on the Irish case, a series of semi-structured interviews from a purposive sample of advisers and farmers from the more profitable dairy sector were undertaken to analyse the key drivers of impact. Results show that a combination of group-based and individual activities based on relevant content focused on key management practices for grassland, breeding, and financial management were key to achieving impact. Furthermore, positive outcomes were dependent on a high degree of trust between the farmer and the organisation, between the farmer and the adviser, and between the farmer and their peers. The findings indicate that while some barriers remain for farmers to apply newly learned knowledge, those that do implement the practices report a positive impact. This has implications for knowledge transfer design which is timely given the focus on these activities in the upcoming Common Agricultural Policy 2023–2027.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 10, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Mar 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2023
Journal Sustainability
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 4
Article Number 3226
Keywords knowledge transfer, advisory service, impact, trust


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