The use of group processes to encourage innovation and to transfer best practice is relatively novel in the agricultural sector. However, Menter a Busnes, a Welsh economic development company, has been utilising this approach for over a decade. Since successfully tendering in 2011 to deliver the main elements of the Farming Connect programme funded by the Welsh Government under the Rural Development Plan, they have been developing and expanding group principles with a view to engaging a greater number of farmers for a variety of purposes and with a broad range of different groups. This paper outlines how the company initially became involved in group processes through the design and launch of the Agrisgôp programme which utilises Action Learning to develop ideas and resolve issues. Examples of some of the projects undertaken by the groups are given along with experiences relating to group dynamics and facilitation. The broader context of the current Farming Connect programme is described and the variety and nature of group processes currently being utilised for knowledge transfer is discussed. Two studies undertaken in relation to groups are outlined. The first considers whether personality can be used to predict effective facilitators of organisational change and the second involves the design and development of a mixed measures tool to quantify the impact of group processes over time. Finally some conclusions are drawn with regard to lessons learnt in relation to group methodologies and possible ways forward for the future.
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