Extension and training practices: challenges for smallholder cattle farmers’ community in Thailand
The objective of this study was to analyze the impacts of an extension program (education and training practice) as perceived by smallholder cattle farmers to develop their smallholder farm practices and reduce the costs of production. The study used data from 22 participant smallholder farmers with backgrounding cattle systems. In-depth interview questionnaires were used and collected before and after providing the extension program in Saraburi province, Thailand. Two leaders of this group were selected for observation and as farm models. Environmental differences were investigated during the rainy, winter and summer seasons. This study detailed the socioeconomics of the smallholders, the characteristics and management of livestock farms. The satisfaction levels of the extension programs were also analyzed. The benefits and costs of this program were examined and developed after the program finished. The study found backgrounding cattle farms was a major livelihood within the community. The community was of low income and living in poverty. The farmers were at high levels of risk in terms of feeding costs and cattle market. The program provided knowledge to be enable the farmers to understand and develop the farm systems. Most of the smallholders agreed on the good-practice farming and group activities. The farm leaders influenced their perceptions. The farmers were encouraged to do activities together: learning cattle market information, good-practice cattle farms, and cattle rations management. The success of the extension program improved the economic community, community relationships, and community attitudes. The extension program applied to a pro-active policy. Collaboration learning activities for smallholders benefit the farmers’ community. This program improves economic relationships, attitudes, and builds a sustainable agricultural community.
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