To Be, Or Not To Be, That Is The Question – In A Group That Is
There is a perception in Western Australia that some regions do not have many farmer groups and that there are large
numbers of farmers who aren’t involved with group activities. This was seen to be a problem for government and industry
research organisations that are attempting to encourage change in rural communities through group processes. This
perception was not supported by the results of a study of in which 172 south western grain belt farmers were surveyed at three
major field days in WA during 2002.
With 79% of those surveyed currently involved in an average of 1.7 farmer groups, it can be argued they are heavily involved
with group activities. Interestingly older farmers tended to be involved in more groups. Those that are involved in groups do so
to gain information, social interaction and to improve themselves, their enterprise and the community; whereas those not
involved said they have other sources of information, limited time and the groups offered were not perceived to be applicable.
Another trend emerging in WA is the increasing role and membership of farmer initiated and managed groups.