I strongly believe that if we give our “farm experts” the opportunity to experiment on their own patch of land we can make faster progress. We already use this sandboxing methodology in digital innovations where we match startups developing new technologies with incumbents. In this way, we accelerate the innovation cycle and they learn from each other.
These “pioneering farmers” or “Innovative farmers” are doing the same thing but on their own patch of land. They work closely with researchers and scientists to gain independent knowledge.
Innovative Farmers is an English non-profit organization for all farmers and horticulturists who conduct on-farm trials on their own terms.
When Innovative Farmers launched in 2012 (then known as the Duchy Future Farming Program), it was based on one idea – many of the best ideas in agriculture come from farmers. Whether it’s trying out a new variety or breed, using a tool in a different way or responding quickly to unpredictable weather, trials, testing and field research are part of the daily work.
But often farmers go it alone and what they learn remains on the farm. At the same time, the researchers told us they wanted to work on projects that have real impact. That their work is put into practice rather than in a bulky magazine. This kind of initiative can only be encouraged. Let it be an inspiration for all of us.