Innovative Farmers

When Innovative Farmers was launched in 2015, it was on the back of one idea - that many of the best ideas in farming come from farmers. We were working with farmers whose ideas were transforming their own businesses, but they were often going it alone. At the same time, we were talking to researchers who wanted their work to have real impact, to work on projects that would be put into practice straight away, rather than sit in a journal
gathering virtual dust.

The network was designed to bring these two groups together: innovative farmers, who ensure the field labs are relevant to their business and the research stays practical, and progressive researchers who bring rigour to the on-farm trials.

The concept of farmer-led research is really gaining traction. Field labs are increasingly being written

into research proposals and recently they have won sponsorship from some of the UK`s main agricultural research funders. This is not just a recognition of the field lab model, but also of the vital role that farmers` practical ingenuity can play in solving the challenges we face.

Through the Innovative Farmers network, groups of farmers can work directly with a researcher to design `field labs`, on-farm trials that can be set up quickly and are highly practical. The group decides on the topic and the researcher helps design a trial. Field labs can be on any issue that makes farm businesses more sustainable and resilient. Right now, there are over 50 field labs being run by farmers up and down the country. Explore the field labs at https://innovativefarmers.org/find-a-field-lab

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