Do Agricultural Advisory Services in Europe have the Capacity to Support the Transition to Healthy Soils?

Ingram, Julie ORCID: 0000-0003-0712-4789, Mills, Jane ORCID: 0000-0003-3835-3058, Black, Jasmine ORCID: 0000-0001-9145-3889, Chivers, Charlotte-Anne ORCID: 0000-0003-3267-5558, Aznar-Sánchez, Jose, Elsen, Annemie, Frac, Magdalena, López-Felices, Belén, Mayer-Gruner, Paula, Skaalsveen, Kamilla, Stolte, Jannes and Tits, Mia (2022) Do Agricultural Advisory Services in Europe have the Capacity to Support the Transition to Healthy Soils? Land, 11 (5). Art 599. doi:10.3390/land11050599

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The need to provide appropriate information, technical advice and facilitation to support farmers in transitioning towards healthy soils is increasingly clear, and the role of the Agricultural Advisory Services (AAS) in this is critical. However, the transformation of AAS (plurality, commercialisation, fragmentation, decentralisation) brings new challenges for delivering advice to support soil health management. This paper asks: To what extent do agricultural advisory services have the capacity to support the transition to healthy soils across Europe? Using the ‘best fit’ framework, analytical characteristics of the AAS relevant to the research question (governance structures, management, organisational and individual capacities) were identified. Analysis of 18 semi-structured expert interviews across 6 case study countries in Europe, selected to represent a range of contexts, was undertaken. Capacities to provide soil health management (SHM) advice are constrained by funding arrangements, limited adviser training and professional development, adviser motivations and professional cultures, all determined by institutional conditions. This has resulted in a narrowing down of access and content of soil advice and a reduced capacity to support the transition in farming to healthy soils. The extent to which emerging policy and market drivers incentivise enhanced capacities in AAS is an important area for future research.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agricultural advisory services; Soil health; Governance; Agricultural advisers; Sustainable soil management; Soil policy advice
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General) > S589.7 Agricultural ecology (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Sofia Raseta
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 16:15
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2023 11:17

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