“Does anyone buy a paper anymore?” “Is the internet all things to all farmers?” “Why are they always stuck in their phone?” These are just a couple of the questions that a recent survey by Herdwatch, the leading farm management software company, conducted to show how farmers interact with print, digital and social media.
The Herdwatch survey of 1,100 farmers revealed that farmers are very hungry for news & information and they are active across multiple media platforms with 97% using online websites for news & information, 92% using social media and 87% still buying newspapers.
When it comes to online, AgriLand is the most popular website in Ireland for farmers with 87% using the site to access news & information. Beyond that, there is an even spread of the engagement with other websites that include That’s Farming, Farmers Journal and the Farming Independent. It is also interesting to see that farmers are turning to Facebook groups and YouTube to access farming news. 87% of the farmers who use the web said they access it every day or multiple times a day showing that they are highly engaged with content on the internet.
The Herdwatch survey also provided insight that 92% use social media with 62% of those telling Herdwatch they are never off it or on it all the time. But what are they doing on their phones all the time, you ask? 81% use the WhatsApp messaging app to communicate to family & friends but are also involved in farmer groups where they can ask for and receive advice. After that, more than half use Facebook to stay connected with friends and half use YouTube to watch videos. 1 in 3 use Snapchat which is not just for teenagers anymore, as 54% of farmers using Snapchat are over 35 years of age. Twitter and Instagram are also popular with 1 in 4 using these.
On newspapers, 13% said they don’t buy or read newspapers anymore but it is clear that print media is still relevant to farmers with 74% buying a newspaper weekly or every other week. 77% buy the Farmers Journal and 45% buy the Farming Independent. 16% also said they still buy a local newspaper.
Mervyn Harvey from Herdwatch commented “The results of this survey clearly show that anyone who thinks that farmers are a little bit behind the curve is completely wrong.
Their engagement with online news and social media is very high and can help to reduce rural isolation, especially during this current crisis. Farmers are doing an amazing job to keep our food supply chains going right now and we are very grateful to them for that.
We continue to do our bit to help with our Herdwatch Covid Cattle Exchange which has already helped hundreds of farmers buy or sell animals while marts are severely constrained.”