Oral: Fieldside Manner: Serving Plant Pathology's Stakeholders
Pulling no punches: Admitting you don't know, and still giving actionable answers.
WALT MAHAFFEE, USDA ARS, Corvallis, OR, U.S.A.
The difference in perspective between growers and researchers often creates a communication gap that must be filled in order for both groups to succeed. When growers ask researchers a question they often get a nuanced answer that can be noncommittal and perceived as uninformative by growers. This is because researchers are often hesitant to make recommendations based on guesses or too many assumptions. However, growers are usually asking questions because they have no choice but to make a decision – usually right then. They do not want a nuanced answer but they do want to understand the uncertainty and logic in the educated guess that you might have to give. There are also interactions where researchers are frustrated by the lack of grower implementation of their or others research. Here again is a communication gap that is often related to inefficient communication. Growers often recognize that the research could be helpful but do not see how they can change their production system to utilize it because of logistics or labor or equipment availability. Both groups often think that the other does not under their system. Getting both parties to adapt to and see the others perspective usually results in improved research support and implementation.