Questionnaire design, sampling strategy and preliminary findings: the Wet Tropics region

Farr, Marina, Eagle, Lynne, Hay, Rachel, and Churchill, Meryl (2017) Questionnaire design, sampling strategy and preliminary findings: the Wet Tropics region. Report. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre,

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This report focuses initially on the survey development and the sampling design of a survey delivered in the Wet Tropics and the Dry Tropics. It then provides a preliminary analysis of the initial data collected from cane growers in the Wet Tropics. Mainly in the form of descriptive statistics, (the results from the Burdekin region can be found in Farr et al., 2017b). It also provides provisional recommendations for key stakeholders regarding possible actions that should be considered in future interactions with land managers in the Wet Tropics.

When developing the questionnaires for cane growers in both the Wet Tropics and in the Burdekin region, the questions were kept similar wherever possible, to enable comparisons between the case study areas (e.g. cane growers in Wet Tropics and cane growers in Burdekin). The final version of the questionnaire is included as Appendix 1.

The sample population in the preliminary analysis was obtained from a membership database of cane producers supplied by Terrain NRM. Each respondent was allocated a unique identifier to de-identify the data. The unique identifier will also allow the research team to track changes in responses across the three years and to analyse those changes.

The preliminary analysis captures people in the Wet Tropics region who are/have been engaged or partially engaged in water quality improvement or any other programs in the Wet Tropics (93.2%) and those who are not or have not been engaged in water quality or any other programs in the Wet Tropics region in the last 5 years (6.8%).

The insights from the preliminary analysis of the initial data collected in round one show that the growers:

• Have a mature profile - the median age of cane growers is 57 years, which is significantly greater than the median age of the Australian population (37 years).

• Own (65%) or own & lease (12%) their property.

• Have lengthy land management experience - (average of 32.7 years), often following earlier generations on properties: maintaining traditions and heritage is important (over 63% of respondents indicated this to be of the highest importance).

• Do not make decisions in isolation – family / extended family are commonly involved.

• Are positive about overall quality of life (>91%).

• Have no significant plans to change future practices (>95%).

• Do not believe their farming practice adversely affects water quality in local streams, rivers, and waterways (42%).

• Do not believe that the cane industry plays a significant role in the declining health of the GBR (49%).

• Tend to shift their blame related to water quality and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

There is a need to ‘sell the science’ to gain acceptance of the cause-effect relationship between farming practice and water quality.

There is potential to extend the key role of extension officers to influence an increased uptake of BMP practices. The main ways in which they can be supported in their interactions with land managers include:

• Supporting innovators (‘positive deviants’).

• Ensuring that land mangers see their expertise as valued and their voices heard.

• Facilitating sharing of ideas and practices.

• Building on the role of farms whose views are respected as information gatekeepers/disseminators/role models.

• Ensuring that all persuasive communications are integrated in terms of key messages.

• Developing strategies for minimising the impact of competing and conflicting messages.

• Incorporating social media strategies as part of an integrated communication strategy that centres on the information channels and platforms used and preferred by land managers.

• Incorporate long-term relationship management strategies based on customer relationship management and business-to-business marketing concepts.

• Utilise Social Network Analysis to identify:

(a) key information gatekeepers / opinion leaders who may help or hinder information dissemination and innovation uptake, and

(b) where individual extension officers may fit into various networks.

• Consider the use of farmer typologies in developing resources to aid extension officers in their interactions with land managers.

Note: The survey was delivered in both the Burdekin and the Wet Tropics region of Queensland, therefore, the survey development and sampling strategy (Section 2) and recommendations (Section 4) of this report include common content with Section 2 and 4 of the Interim report - Questionnaire Design, Sampling Strategy and Preliminary Findings (The Burdekin region) (Farr et al., 2017b)

Item ID: 58376
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: Wet Tropics, water quality, questionnaire design, sampling strategy, Great Barrier Reef
Copyright Information: © James Cook University, 2017 Creative Commons Attribution Questionnaire Design, Sampling Strategy and Preliminary Findings: The Wet Tropics region is licensed by the James Cook University for use under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Australia licence. For licence conditions see:
Additional Information:

NESP Project 2.1.3 Interim report 4

Funders: National Environmental Science Program (NESP)
Projects and Grants: NESP Project 2.1.3
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2019 02:48
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1505 Marketing > 150502 Marketing Communications @ 50%
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83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 10%
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