In 2016, a veterinary service company, XL Farmcare UK, was awarded a Defra contract to manage a series of on-farm demonstration workshops to raise biosecurity awareness. The workshops provided free training for cattle farmers in England on the practical measures that they could take to limit the threat of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Despite communicating these events to farmers, the number who subsequently attended them was low and the company decided to conduct research to seek explanation. Farmers were interviewed at agricultural shows, their comments analysed and the frequency of words in use were measured to produce a set of common themes. This thematic analysis provides an illustrative rather than representative picture of farmer opinions yet holds significant explanatory value for understanding the apparent lack of engagement with biosecurity training. Broad-ranging farmer perspectives can be understood through a ‘typology’ of feelings about bTB, particularly expressions of blame, loss, confusion, ignorance, resignation and fear. The cumulative effect amounts to one of overwhelming negativity, explaining why so many farmers disengaged from training provision; a finding with relevance and value for the way training providers plan future communication methods in relation to biosecurity risk mitigation.
- knowledge transfer
- bovine tuberculosis
- qualitative research methods
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