What makes a successful demonstration?

It seems to be common knowledge that agricultural demonstrations represent an inherently good support tool for farmers in improving their farming practices. But the question remains on what kind of improvements are these, and what makes one demonstration more successful than others? What unites the two questions is the fact that the impact of a given demonstration largely depends on the way it is being initiated, designed, communicated and implemented, and the other way round – the set-up of a demonstration activity largely depends on the changes it is expected to bring about.

History of Demonstration Farming

Although it is sometimes easy to imagine agricultural demonstration activity as simply the promotion of new products and technologies, its history illustrates that demonstration farming is far more than that. In particular, from the industrialisation era onwards, the demonstration of new innovations in agriculture has played a critical role in the development of Western civilisation.

PLAID – it’s a family thing

On-farm demonstration is literally something I grew up with.  Some of my clearest childhood memories are of the day my Dad – a full-time farmer who supplemented the family income by selling PAG seed corn (maize, in British English) – organised a demonstration event at our farm in Canada.  The plots of different seedcorn varieties were clearly labelled along our lane, but the big draw was Bobby Hull – a famous National Hockey League ice hockey player  –  who my parents had hired to come and speak to the participants.  I can’t remember what Bobby Hull said – I expect it had more to do with hi


PLAID:  Peer to Peer Learning:  Accessing Innovation through Demonstration

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