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Exploring dairy producer and veterinarian perceptions of barriers and motivators to adopting on-farm management practices for Johne's disease control in Ontario, Canada

Roche, S.M., Kelton, D.F., Meehan, M., Von Massow, M., Jones-Bitton, A.
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.5 pp. 4476-4488
attitudes and opinions, biosecurity, calves, disease control, disease transmission, farms, focus groups, herds, infrastructure, paratuberculosis, purchasing, veterinarians, Ontario
Motivating uptake of management change recommendations requires knowledge of the barriers and motivators influencing producer behavior. This study investigated dairy producers' and veterinarians' perceptions of the barriers and motivators influencing the adoption of Johne's disease (JD) control recommendations in Ontario, Canada. Eight focus groups, 6 with dairy producers and 2 with veterinarians, were conducted and thematically analyzed. Both producer and veterinarian groups identified physical resources (i.e., time, money, infrastructure) and producer mindset (i.e., perceived priority of JD, perceived practicality of JD control recommendations) as key barriers to adoption. Producers tended to prioritize JD control on their farm based on their lived experiences with JD and their view of the public's concern about JD. Many agreed that JD recommendations should focus on biosecurity more holistically and emphasize the broader health benefits of limiting calf exposure to many fecal–orally transmitted diseases. Producers also highlighted that some recommendations for on-farm change (i.e., keeping a closed herd, buying from low-risk herds) were unrealistic or too difficult to perform and often disrupted their habits or routine. In contrast, veterinarians suggested that most recommendations were practical and are routinely recommended. Participants suggested both extrinsic (i.e., incentives, premiums, penalties and regulations, and extension and communication) and intrinsic (i.e., pride and responsibility) methods for motivating producers. This study highlights the importance of producer mindset in on-farm change and offers insights into the attitudes and perceived barriers influencing on-farm change.