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Farmers’ perceptions of coexistence between agriculture and a large scale coal seam gas development

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Huth, Neil I. (main author), Cocks, Brett (author), Dalgliesh, Neal (author), Poulton, Perry L. (author), Marinoni, Oswald (author), Navarro Garcia, Javier (author)
Journal article
Publication Date:
Australia: Springer
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
advertising, agronomy, change, communication barriers, communication research, development, development issues, environment, family farms, farmer attitudes, farmer perceptions, farming, land use, perception, perceptions, industrialization, farmer, landscape, workshops, wells, cultural differences, farming communities, Australia (Oceania), place, aesthetics, identity, coal
Article first online 13 June 2017, Via online journal., The Coal Seam Gas (CSG) extraction industry is developing rapidly within the Surat Basin in southern Queensland, Australia, with licenses already approved for tenements covering more than 24,000 km2. Much of this land is used for a broad range of agricultural purposes and the need for coexistence between the farm and gas industries has been the source of much conflict. Whilst much research has been undertaken into the environmental and economic impacts of CSG, little research has looked into the issues of coexistence between farmers and the CSG industry in the shared space that is a farm business, a home and a resource extraction network. We conducted three workshops with farmers from across a broad region undergoing CSG development to explore farmers’ perceptions of some of the issues arising from large scale land use change. Workshops explored the importance of place identity and landscape aesthetics for farmers, farmers’ acceptance and coping with change, and possible benefits from off-farm income. We found that farmers believed that place identity was not well understood by CSG staff from non-rural backgrounds and that farmers struggled to explain some concerns because of the different way they interpreted their landscape. Furthermore, high staff turnover, and the extensive use of contractors also impacted on communications. These factors were the cause of much frustration and farmers felt that this has led to severe impacts on mental health and wellbeing. Farmers felt that a change in culture within the CSG companies will be required if engagement with farmers is to improve and that efforts to employ local people in these communications was helping this. The workshops also identified a range of issues perceived by farmers arising from increased traffic volumes, impacts to mental health and wellbeing, place identity and loss of water resources for farmers. Finally, it was suggested that scientists and agricultural industry groups will need to work closely with farmers to develop understanding of these emerging issues and to develop solutions that are timely and relevant.