Farmers going mobile at same rate as others, survey says

Canada’s farmers are investing in smartphones and tablets at the same rate as the rest of the population, Farm Credit Canada reports.

The federal farm lending agency last week released a survey of its FCC Vision Panel, finding 29 per cent of farmers now own smartphones, compared to 30 per cent for other Canadians.

Six per cent of Canadians and Canadian farmers alike own a tablet such as Apple’s iPad or RIM’s Blackberry Playbook, the survey of 4,121 producers and agribusiness and agrifood operators found.

Tablet adoption is expected to be highest among current smartphone users, FCC said, and 53 per cent of producers who own a smartphone today plan to buy a tablet within two years.

"Canadian producers are innovative and have historically adopted new technology so we weren’t surprised by the survey results," FCC chief operating officer Remi Lemoine said in a release last week.

"However, it does emphasize that organizations like ours and others which serve the complex and dynamic industry of agriculture need to be considering ways to make information increasingly technology-friendly."

"Getting access to relevant financial data and economic information can be a real advantage in a fast-moving marketplace," FCC senior ag economist Jean-Philippe Gervais said in the same release.

"Innovation has always been a major driver of profitability in agriculture and mobile technology is just one more tool available to gain a competitive edge."

The survey, conducted in June with a margin of error of plus or minus one per cent, 19 times out of 20, also found:

  • 36 per cent of producers in Canada will try new technology once they hear positive feedback from their peers;
  • 81 per cent of producers own a cell phone;
  • smartphones are owned most often by producers under 40 (41 per cent) compared to their peers over the age of 40 (26 per cent);
  • of the 29 per cent of producers who own a smartphone, the majority are using a Blackberry (63 per cent), while 24 per cent are using an iPhone;
  • 50 per cent of producers who don’t own a smartphone say they will never own one, while the other half expect to have one within the next two years; and
  • 86 per cent of respondents have high-speed Internet.

The FCC Vision Panel survey was sent to 9,190 panelists, with 4,121 responding, for a 45 per cent response rate.

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