Extension services must continually adapt to the changing agricultural environment and tochanges in farm family circumstances in order to remain relevant. Change is difficult toimplement particularly for large scale public sector extension agencies. The Irish public sectorextension agency, Teagasc, developed a new and dynamic advisory programme ‘TheOpportunities for Farm Families Programme’ in an effort to support farm families in adjustingto their changing agricultural environment, particularly to reforms in the Common AgriculturalPolicy. The purpose of this paper is to outline the key challenges faced by Teagasc inintroducing this new advisory programme and approach to the delivery of advice. Thesechallenges included: convincing staff of the new approach and achieving ‘buy-in’; identifyingand clarifying misconceptions about the programme; adapting as an organisation to selling aprogramme where there is not farmer led demand (but there is a need); changing the nature ofthe provision of advice from reactive to proactive; prioritising and managing workload; andmanaging and achieving programme targets. The process and the approach used in theimplementation of the programme need as much focus as the actual programme or productaround which the change is centred. Getting the vision right is only part of the challenge,effectively communicating that vision within the organisation is critical. Change is ongoing andinevitable but to be sustainable, it is important that it is approached and managed positively(encouraged and supported) rather than negatively (forced and imposed).

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