Sharon Oliver, Senior Account Director in our Animal Health team, explores the new social revolution in the farming community.
There is a younger, more progressive generation of farmers taking ownership of our fields and barns. They embrace technology, strive for efficiencies, and adopt new approaches to make their farms more productive than past generations.
So what do we, as communicators, need to know about how these farmers are accessing their information?
Quite simply, they are a social breed.
While 90% of farmers turn to print publications and 69% use websites for information, social media is a fast-growing channel, with over 45% of farmers using it for agri-related information.
The recent ‘Social: Farmer’ survey showed that 42% are on Facebook and 23% are on Twitter.
It also revealed (maybe unsurprisingly) that farmers on Twitter like to follow other farmers (23%) and use it as a way of keeping in touch and up to date on innovations. However many farmers don’t actively tweet but simply observe and take on board information.
Interestingly, an independent telephone study by KWS revealed the types of content that appeals the most to farmers. Case studies, in-depth articles and ‘how to’ guides are most popular.
Technology is also playing a huge role in the evaluation of the ‘new age farmer’. Farmers Weekly discovers that 46% of farmers feel technology has significantly changed how they farm, with improved connectivity coming out on top as having the most impact, and a whopping 38% say they are now using data analysis software.
As technology continues to evolve (such as the rise of methane tractors, GPS, and airborne drone on-farm crop data) the farmer we know today is truly one of the most progressive audiences that we can market too.
But change takes time. And where margins are tight, risk is high and techniques are being passed down from generation to generation, you simply are not going to make changes overnight.
By harnessing the power of early adopters in farming, and role-modelling these more progressive farmers, we can help demonstrate the benefits of a more socially connected industry.