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Task 3.4 Practice and science meet in at least 144 discussion groups (M6 – M36)
Task-lead: LRC in collaboration with all partners

This task is the heart of WP3 and builds on the output of the previous tasks and of WP2 (e.g. technical leaflets). Task 3.4 involves in-depth discussions using a participatory approach in discussion groups consisting of practitioners (e.g. groups of dairy farmers, students, advisors, actors from industry) and researchers. A structure will be arranged for each of the countries of the project and will be based on the needs and possibilities of the dairy/meat sector in each country, thus creating options to share experiences and learn together at regional, national and international level. The structure will be closely linked to the case studies of WP2 and to the Operational Groups of EIP-AGRI that are already active or getting started in each country (the situation with respect to Operational Groups is different in each country) and the results will flow, in turn, to the EIP-AGRI, through WP4. Practitioners and researchers will share relevant issues and innovations. They will also include the results of already existing platforms like the EIP-AGRI Focus Group “Permanent Grassland”. Jointly they will create and strengthen innovations for contrasting environments and production systems thus contributing to resilient grassland systems. The groups should consist of an array of people: from young to old, from conservative to innovative, from “farmer to be” to “previously a farmer” etc. to achieve the maximum input in a synergistic approach. Groups can differ in composition. All group meetings will be led by a facilitator. The case study farms of WP2 will be used as physical inspiration points for the meetings wherever possible. Groups of farmers and researchers will meet at the case study site and use this case study as a starting point for further innovation. The number of discussion groups per year will be 48 (on average 6 groups for each of the 8 participating countries with a variation of 4 to 8 groups per country), leading to an overall minimum number of discussion groups of 144 during the project term of three years. Discussion groups can exist for the complete project period or for only part of the project period, e.g. a growing season. In each discussion group, 2-3 innovation meetings per year will be organised at farm level. Each meeting will discuss the functions of grasslands as defined in Task 3.3. Task 3.4 will produce at least 100 draft practice abstracts to be delivered to WP4 for upgrading its effectiveness in transferring knowledge and innovation provision. Interaction at the international level is also part of this task and will be initiated by the Facilitator Agents thus creating a forum to synthesise the individually presented results to combined results on cross-border level. Furthermore, discussion groups can invite members of other discussion groups (either physically or via e.g. Skype) thereby fostering the crossborder flow of information.

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