Frame alignment processes for locally useful agricultural soil research and extension: The role of farm advisors

Vaughan Higgins, Melanie Bryant, Catherine Allan, Geoff Cockfield, Peat Leith, Penny Cooke

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Farm advisors are recognised as playing an increasingly central role in facilitating interactions between scientists and farmers to improve local implementation of sustainable soil management practices and agricultural innovations more broadly. However, there has been limited scrutiny of what farm advisors do when faced with conflicting interpretations among actors over techniques or approaches for facilitating agricultural innovation. This article advances knowledge in this area by investigating the role of farm advisors in aligning different frames on agricultural soil research and extension across seven Australian mixed farming regions. Drawing upon theoretical work on frame alignment, we argue that farm advisors use three types of strategies to align conflicting frames—frame bridging, frame amplification and frame transformation. These strategies seek to frame local soil research and extension priorities in ways that are assumed to resonate more closely with the frames of multiple constituents, such as farmers and soil scientists. Through our analysis, we argue that the application of a frame alignment approach enables greater precision in identifying which (a) interactive and social learning processes, (b) key local influencers and communities of practice and (c) resourcing and governance arrangements are most likely to be effective in facilitating soil research and extension that is locally useful and useable.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


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