Jeff Coutts is a co-author of a chapter in the recently on-line published book:  “Rural Development for Sustainable Social-ecological Systems: Putting Communities First”.

Abstract: This chapter presents a brief but critical account of trends in agricultural extension practices in Australia. Agricultural extension practices have changed significantly over the past five decades. Structural changes in agriculture, new types of agricultural technologies, tight public budgets, efforts to decentralise government and emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) have led to pluralistic advisory services. Earlier research has described the history of agricultural extension until 2010 in Australia. Using a ‘practice perspective’, this paper focuses on the practices of practitioners in agricultural extension. The chapter starts with a discussion of what extension refers to in Australia. This is followed by a brief outline of the history of agricultural extension in Australia providing insight into the diversity of current extension practices. Then the key methodological approaches that inform current extension practices are described, namely approaches that focus on (1) adoption and diffusion; (2) interactions and learning; and (3) agricultural innovation systems and systems innovation. The paper concludes with a discussion of new developments in extension practices as well as opportunities to strengthen and re-invigorate the study of extension.

Link to the journal article: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-34225-7_4

International workshop for education and advisory actors of rural areas, the agricultural and environmental sector, including the home and food economy

The networks International Academy for Rural Advisory Services (IALB), European Forum for Agricultural and Rural Advisory Services (EUFRAS) and South Eastern Europe Advisory Service Network (SEASN) as well as the Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG) are organising an international workshop for education and advisory actors of rural areas, the agricultural and environmental sector, including the home and food economy, in Dresden from 10 to 14 September 2023. The theme is: The role of education and extension in the transformation process of agriculture – in the context of climate change, ensuring nutrition and societal demands.

Registration is from July 2023: https://www.ialb.sachsen.de/

Record crops deliver big agriculture gains

The five yearly Agricultural census undertaken by the ABS showed that 2020-21 was an exceptional year for Australian Agriculture.  According to the article in the West Australian, Australian farmers made a 17 percent increase in profits in that year. Wheat and cotton were big winners thanks to drought-breaking rains and increased availability and use of irrigation. It was reported that the livestock situation stayed mostly constant. This has implications for the ability of RDCs to use extra levy funds to work with the Future Drought Fund initiatives to improve drought preparedness in the future. 

https://thewest.com.au/business/agriculture/record-crops-deliver-big-agriculture-gains-c-7646578