Connecting research with the farmhouse
Research outreach is a major component of scientific work, ensuring relevance and application to local demands. Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) connects academic researchers with research users throughout the entire research project. KTT is an important element of research with an aim of ensuring that current research will have a positive impact on society. Agri-Food and Rural Link, funded under the OMAFRA-UofG Partnership with support from Environment Canada, is completing an investigational survey of the Essex County agricultural community to assess what current approaches to acquiring water quality research information work best for science users. Local opinions of how the linkages to scientific and policy communities could be improved were considered in order to recommend changes to the way research is communicated. A series of interviews and an online survey were initiated with members from all sectors of the local agricultural community to document the network of connections involving KTT. Engaging local agricultural workers is the goal, with efforts undertaken at grower meetings and farm shows. Scientific research is used and demanded by the farm community who understand how it can affect their livelihoods. Existing agriculture community connections will require continued maintenance and improvement while research information must be marketed to ensure new generations of practitioners make use of research and extension specialists.