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Demonstration farm

Demo events can be hosted on different types of sites, ranging from farmer owned farms to publicly owned fields leased by universities, research centres or extension sites. There are some criteria for selecting a good host site for the demo.

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“Can farmers identify with the host farm?”

A demo might have more impact when the host farm operates under the same ‘real life’ conditions as average farms. On the other hand, for example, pioneer farmers can show innovative and more experimental techniques.

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“Is the host a ‘good farmer’, recognised as being credible and ‘wise’ as well as innovative and productive?”

The public perception of the host also plays a role in the attractiveness of the event to the potential participants. Choosing someone you already know or a farm that is appointed by organisations for several years, during which trials are tested on the farm, can be a ‘safe’ option as the demo events often require a lot of efforts from the hosts to prepare their farm for the visitors. On the other hand, not always using the ‘usual suspects’ should be considered.

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“Is the host farm suitable for the demo event, taking into account the topic, the location and the planned activities?”

You should check whether the host farmer’s activities, practices and farm facilities coincide with the purpose of the demo and the expected number of participants. Travel time can be an important criterion, however participants are willing to travel further for demos on innovative techniques that are not common in their own region.

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Choosing a host location has an influence on the accessibility of the demo:

  • Geographic (location, travel time, good and
    easy access for the targeted audience)
  • Social (facilities, comfort & security for the
    visitors)
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  • Check the EU-wide inventory of demonstration farms on the FarmDemo hub: farmdemo.eu
  • Collaboration between commercial companies and farms could be beneficial: it allows participants to see the newest innovations on a real working farm.
  • An ‘atypical’ farm can provide inspiration and increase reflection on current practices.
  • To reach a wider group of participants, you can organise the same demo at different locations in your region/country and on different types of farms.
  • Increase accessability of more remote host farms by organising group transport.
  • Provide transportation facilities to visit multiple sites.