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"Work-a-Day" compensation in farmer participatory research

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Constraints to farmer participation in agricultural research require public institutions to compensate farmers for their involvement in research projects. Because of potential funding limitations in public institutions, it is important to identify approaches to compensate farmers who do not exclusively rely upon monetary remuneration. A novel barter compensation approach, called work-a-day compensation, is proposed. This approach involves compensating farmers for their time and involvement in research studies by having the principal investigator work for participating farmers. Twenty-four farmers throughout eastern Nebraska were offered work-a-day compensation for their involvement in a soil quality assessment study. Farmers' opinions of work-a-day compensation were surveyed as part of the study. One-third of the farmers participating in the study chose to utilize the work-a-day compensation offer. Comments were positive, and the majority (54%) felt that work-a-day compensation would be either very or somewhat important in their decision to participate in future studies. Experiences from work-a-day compensation were beneficial to both participating farmers and the principal investigator. Farmers benefited by receiving help doing chores or learning more about the principal investigator's technical expertise. The principal investigator benefited by acquiring more understanding and appreciation for the challenges that farmers face daily. Potential benefits from work-a-day compensation to public institutions include an improved image among farmers and greater farmer participation in research studies. Drawbacks of this compensation approach, however, such as liability issues, the high degree of mechanization of many farms, and researcher time may relegate it to being applicable only in unique situations.
Liebig, M.A. , Doran, J.W. , Francis, C.A.
Includes references
Journal of natural resources and life sciences education 1999. v. 28
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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