Size does matter when it comes to new research by Graham Centre members Associate Professor Marta Hernandez-Jover and Ms Lynne Hayes.
‘Smallholder’ isn’t a term you often hear in country Australia but Ms Hayes says smallholder farms may be productive and commercial on a small-scale and/or may be farms with livestock kept as a hobby to enjoy the farm lifestyle.
“A new study aims to gain a better understanding of current smallholder farming networks in Australia,” she said.
The project is funded by Animal Health Australia and is looking to build upon national animal health and biosecurity work previously done by the research team in this exciting and growing area.
“Smallholders are a complex group, with varying motivations, needs and backgrounds,” Professor Hernandez- Jover said.
“It’s in understanding their needs that the team is hoping to identify valuable topics and activities to inform the design of additional networks.
“Smallholders are an important sector of the livestock industries, and supporting them in animal health management is crucial for protecting these industries.”
The project team has completed interviews across Australia with key individuals involved in the coordination and management of smallholder farming networks and groups.
A national survey of smallholders, has also been completed, with over 200 smallholders participating.
“The focus on the end user is a key aspect of this research which has a genuine interest in involving smallholders in the planning and decision making process,” Professor Hernandez-Jover said.
While too early to report on results, early indicators are that networks are needed and could provide additional support to smallholders in farm management, animal health and biosecurity