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Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS): Pathways to sustainability in primary production – social

Principal investigator: Professor Hugh Campbell
Staff involved: Professor Hugh Campbell, Dr Chris Rosin

Brief abstract

The ARGOS Project is a long term study of social, economic and environmental changes on farms that are (or aren't!) attempting to undertake more sustainable styles of production. This contract underpins the social research in the first six years of the project.

The ARGOS Project is structured around a longitudinal panel design. The panels of 10-12 growers/farmers are based around whether they are organic, Integrated Management or conventional producers. These panels are deployed in the Sheep/Beef, Kiwifruit and Dairy Industries.

The specific methodologies deployed around each panel/cluster are designed to identify and evaluate economic, social and ecological changes on each of these farms and orchards over time and compare them to the other management styles (eg. 'Organic', 'Integrated Management' or 'Conventional') in their sector. The social research comprises of two qualitative interviews with each participating household – deployed in Year 2 and Year 4 of the project. The social research has also undertaken more structured engagement with households using causal mapping and farm mapping. In order to create some wider structure to the interpretation of results from the ARGOS households, two national surveys have been conducted with a wider n of farmers (but including all the ARGOS farmers) in order to establish the degree to which ARGOS farmers are representative of the wider population. A subset of the ARGOS group involves two groups of case study farms – one involving land in Maori ownership and the other comprising High Country sheep farms.

Funder: Ministry of Science & Innovation (MSI)

Total contract value: $1,680,409

Term: January 2005-August 2009

Subcontractors: Ngai Tahu

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