An investigation into the advisory service needs of hill country farmers in the Taihape and Hunterville regions of New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Agricultural Science in Farm Management at Massey University

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
This thesis reports an investigation into the advisory service needs of hill country sheep and beef farmers. Given the market reforms recently applied to the advisory services market, understanding of the needs of consumers (i.e. farmers) should be the primary concern of those involved in providing advisory services. Literature reviewed described how farmers needs could be seen as resulting from efforts to attain, maintain or enhance desired management styles, within a given situation. Two research studies were conducted to document farmer's advisory needs, and to investigate where factors characteristic of particular management styles, were associated with distinctive advisory needs. The first study involved analyzing data collected through an intensive study of thirty hill country sheep and beef farmers. Four groups of farmers with distinctive advisory needs were identified. Several factors were found which were capable of explaining differences in farmer's recognition of advisory needs. The second study comprised a postal survey of the total farmer population in the same farming region. Survey responses provided detailed information on the specific nature of farmers advisory needs. However, the less detailed questionnaire was unable to identify factors responsible for differences in the advisory service needs of respondent farmers. The findings of both studies contain valuable information for those involved in providing farm advisory services. Details are given on the range of services required by those farmers who recognised needs for advisory services. Differences in farmer's needs for advisory services were predominantly between farmers who recognised needs for specialist advisory services (typically of a technical nature), and farmers who recognised a need for advice in areas which they were regularly involved in making management decisions. A finding of major significance was that farmer's with similar goals do not necessarily have similar advisory needs. It was concluded that only individually orientated advisory services would be capable of ascertaining the unique goals and objectives of farmers, and delivering a service compatible with those goals. The research also contains several findings relevant to future research into farmer needs and behaviour. The study recognised that a large range of factors were active in influencing farmers needs and demands for advisory services. It was therefore concluded that future research should avoid concentrating on isolated factors associated with farmer needs, but must attempt to consider all factors which influence farmers attempts to attain, maintain or enhance desired management styles. Such studies are likely to benefit from the use of an intensive qualitative research approach.
Farm advisory officers, Agricultural industries -- Management, New Zealand, Agriculture, Information services