Midlands NAMA Explores Farmer Use of Media

Written by NAMA on Friday, March 30, 2012 , 11:38 am

Nearly 30 members of Midlands NAMA gathered at Farm Bureau in Lincoln, NE, in March to hear the latest trends in Digital and Social Media. Courtney Yuskis and Eric Marzen, of Successful Farming, shared recent survey results on how farmers are using Media.

Market research from two groups of farmers was compiled and shared. The averages of the two groups surveyed in 2011 consisted of farmers who aligned with two sets of demographics: 58 years old with 1,048+ acres and 53 years old with 900 acres.

Marzen reported, “Consumers use nine or more sources of media before making purchasing decisions. Farmers are much like other consumers in the fact that they are using more forms of media before making purchasing decisions.” According to the survey, 10% of farmers gather their information from Ag websites, 19% from radio and 39% from magazines.

The number of farmers who have adopted high-speed internet has increased to 72% in 2011, an increase of 20% since 2009. As a result of farmers’ remote lifestyle, many have leaped directly to mobile services for high-speed internet. Midlands NAMA members confirmed that they are noticing several trends of their own among their farmer client base. One company recognized a trend that livestock producers have adopted mobile high-speed slightly faster than row crop farmers. Additional members noticed an increase in web traffic via mobile devices this spring compared to historical years when web traffic has slowed down as farmers entered the field. The reason behind these trends: farmers are relying on their mobile devices in the field and around their farm rather than spending time in front of the computer.

Smartphone adoption continues to increase, which supported these contributions from members. In September 2010, 10% of farmers used Smartphones. In August 2011, that number increased to 39%. In fact, the survey data shows farmers have surpassed the general public in using Smartphones: 45% farmers compared to 44% general public.

Tablet usage has also taken off. From using apps to plugging tablets directly into docking stations in tractors, farmers are using tablets in their day-to-day operation. Marzen reports that 14% of the farmers surveyed currently own and use tablets.

What are farmers doing with this technology? Early internet adopters used the internet primarily for weather and market information. Today’s farmers are using mobile media and apps throughout their operation. Common usages include everything from gathering information, evaluating products, joining online discussions to capturing information in their day-to-day operation, determining the best re-implanting dates and measuring crop maturity.

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