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Agricultural Research and the Farmer

Nature volume 143, page 594 (08 April 1939) | Download Citation

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Abstract

A BBOADSHEBT “Bringing Science to the Farm” issued by PEP (Political and Economic Planning) directs attention to defects in the present system of putting the results of agricultural research at the disposal of the farmer. Some of the difficulties are familiar in other attempts at the popularization of scientific discoveries, notably the superimposition of lecturing on research. Not only does such work impede actual research, but also research ability is by no means invariably linked to lecturing ability, and poor exposition may retard rather than help the spread of agricultural knowledge. The broadsheet urges a thorough overhaul of the provincial advisory service, which is not only seriously understaffed but has lagged behind the rapid diversification and specialization of the sciences concerned. Inadequate arrangements exist for liaison between the provincial advisers and research institutes not situated at their centre, or within their province as well as between the research institute and the farmer. The efficiency of the advisory service moreover depends primarily on the rateable value of the county and is controlled by the county agricultural committees, which cannot be expected to have the same scientific outlook and aims as the research and provincial advisory workers. County organizers do not always refer to the provincial advisers' problems which are beyond their own capacity, and the county organizer is often laden with many other duties besides advisory work. The broadsheet criticizes the annual reports of the research stations from the point of view of propaganda and also the manner of distribution of the official leaflets for farmers issued by the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the meagre use made of films, and lays special stress on the place of the educational services as the fundamental link between research and practice.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/143594b0

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