In this study we look at the effect of involvement of citizens and farmers on their frames about scale-increase of the dairy farm in Koelanderij project. The hypothesis was that people without a connection to farm life are more often against scale-increase than people with a connection to farm life.
In this study we investigated if citizens’ and farmers’ perspectives about scale increase can be influenced by their involvement in information and design meetings about a scale increasing farm. Also analysed was if people without a connection to farm life are more often against scale-increase than people with a connection to farm life. A connection to farm life was defined in this research as being a farmer or not.
The “Koelanderij”, where the goal is to milk 1000 cows by 2025, was used as a case of (future) scale-increase. To reduce possible resistance towards Koelanderij, citizens and farmers were involved in the process of design by one information meeting and two design meetings. Twenty in-depth interviews were held with farmers and citizens who either have, or have not, attended information and/ or design meetings. Besides first thoughts about the Dutch dairy sector and Koelanderij, the following issues were highlighted during the interviews; landscape, environment, public health and animal welfare. Results were analysed using the chi-square test. Arguments of respondents were analysed using the frame of reference.
On average, respondents perceived the Dutch dairy sector as positive. Respondents’ perceptions about Koelanderij were more divergent. A significant difference in respondents’ perception on how Koelanderij will influence landscape was found between groups who either have, or have not, attended the meetings and between farmers and citizens. Respondents who were involved with Koelanderij seemed to have a more positive view of the influence of Koelanderij on the landscape compared to non-involved respondents. Farmers seemed to be more neutral or do not know the influence of Koelanderij on the landscape yet, compared to citizens. About Koelanderij’s influence on environment, public health and animal welfare, respondents with a higher involvement level or social connection to farming seemed to be more positive. Being involved with Koelanderij or having a social connection to farming influences which element of the frame of reference is used to explain arguments.
Throughout the whole research knowledge, interests and convictions are the most used elements. Farmers seem to give most of their arguments based on knowledge and interests while citizens relay more on interests and convictions. Involvement of citizens and farmers also seems to make respondents more aware of things that are still unsure or are not yet decided upon. This could lead to a more critical attitude of respondents. Most important is to get people motivated to cooperate, they should be triggered by the end result that could be reached or their personal interest in the project. Overall, respondents who attended the meetings appreciated the ability to get involved and three respondents changed their opinion about Koelanderij from neutral to positive. Other respondents have stayed neutral or positive in their opinion.
Student: EEM Verscheijden
Supervisors: dr ir K Eilers (APS), ir M van Lieshout (COM)