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Farmer participation in England’s Facilitation Funds

Jackson, C. (2023) Farmer participation in England’s Facilitation Funds. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00112575


Participatory processes are relevant to large-scale environmental projects, which require knowledge sharing, decision making and action from a range of stakeholders including farmers, who are the focus of this research. A review of participatory models is used to build a conceptual framework which disaggregates key components of the process: the organisational driver, facilitators’ role and nature of farmers’ participation. Two English initiatives are analysed using primary and secondary data: large-scale environmental projects and the Facilitation Fund scheme (government-resourced farmer groups). Since 2010, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have dominated the delivery of large-scale environmental projects. Farmers were generally framed as the subjects of the project interventions rather than active participants within it. Facilitation Funds provide an opportunity for farmer group creation, but are related to England’s current AES, over which groups have no control. The affiliation of the facilitator (organisationemployed or independent farm advisor) has an impact on farmers’ participation which may be related to group size. There was a spectrum of farmer participation: 17% of members did not attend any events and 57% attended less than a quarter of events. Generally, farmers were not motivated to join the group by environmental aims. Most did not change their farming practice as a result of group membership because of practical barriers, such as the cost of new equipment. A revised conceptual framework is proposed for future research into farmer participation with a focus on ensuring transparency within project initiation and resourcing, and an emphasis on individuals within the process. Further research is suggested to investigate the proposed link between participation in pro-environmental action and the influence of farmers’ agency and socioeconomic position. Lastly this research reinforces the importance of collaborative action within large-scale environmental projects, and, related to this, codesign of AES.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Mortimer, S.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy & Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:112575


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