Significant Farmer New Media Usage

Chuck Zimmerman

National Association of Farm BroadcastingI was very excited to see the “Selected Media Use By Commercial Producers: A Qualitative Research Summary” report that came in the mail last week. Try to say that title 5 times real fast.

It’s a new NAFB report on the “effectiveness of farm radio.” I guess they gave up on TV a long time ago. Anyway, this is basically research from 12 corn belt states, so it’s not a national survey. Here’s some results that I find fascinating:

1. It says that 26% of farmers with income $40k to $100k use the web as a daily farming information source. That number goes up to 42% for farmers with income of $250K+. Wow. That has got to be eye opening to some people who are looking for some real numbers about the whole farmer use of the internet concept.

2. Here’s one I like. It says that 4.3% of farmers in the $250k category download to an iPod or media player and that another 9.2% use audio streaming. That’s 13.5 percent of the most desirable farmers for agribusiness. If you don’t think that’s significant, consider that just 2 years ago there were probably no farmers using these new media tools!

3. Here’s the kicker for me. It says that 16.3% of the the $250k+ farmers view blogs. Holy Moly. Most people don’t even know they’re on a blog. If 16.3% actually know that they are you can only imagine how many more are. Even if you look at the “all” category, the number is 12.4%!!

Of course the study shows that farmers listen to farm radio. Of course they do. That is, where they can. New media is making it possible for them to hear and obtain the news and information they need even when the local broadcast outlet no longer carries farm programming.

The report I received says there are now 136 farm broadcasters. That’s a big decline from just a few years ago and that’s sad if you think that they have to depend on radio stations to deliver their programs. New media allows them an avenue to deliver content without that restriction. I’m sure we’ll see more and more of them make the transition. What do you think?

NAFB, New Media