| ||To maximize project benefits, farmers must be made aware of the project. Begin publicizing your project early in the planning stage. This can start when you are seeking cooperators for the study. The search for cooperators involves making as many people as possible aware of the proposed project. Announcements at farm meetings, in newsletters and in the local news media can reach a large number of producers in a short time.
Once the project is established, install appropriate signs (see Project Implementation). Provide more detailed information on a plot information sheet. Use half the page (or one side of a two-sided page) to describe the study objectives and plot plan, and the other half for additional information. These sheets should always be available at the site, either in a mailbox or mounted on a waterproof board, so casual visitors to the site can read them. Update the sheets as the season progresses with such information as seeding date, chemical applications, varieties, etc.
Tours and field days are usually the most effective way of informing farmers about the project's results. Project personnel should attend tours and field days to present their research data. A social activity, such as a lunch or barbecue, held with the tour provides an opportunity for participants to informally discuss the project among themselves and with site operators. Social activities can also increase tour attendance. The timing of tours is critical. Try to time them so there are some visual results for tour participants to observe. Avoid scheduling tours during busy field work times (e.g., seeding, spraying, haying and harvest), and try to avoid conflicts with other local and provincial tours or field days.
Send written invitations of tours and field days to the local news media. Project personnel and cooperators should make themselves available to the media for interviews.
It is important that the contributions of all cooperators be formally recognized at every opportunity. Ways to recognize sponsors and cooperators include:
- identifying the inputs of cooperators in budgets.
- identifying all funding agencies and sponsors on signs and publications.
- placing sponsor logos on all project-related information (e.g., newsletter articles, meeting programs, signs).
- formally introducing cooperators, sponsors and industry representatives at all official meetings.
- allowing sponsors to set up displays at meetings and field days.