Farmers Love and Rely on Mobile Phones, Even More Than the General Public


Mobile phones have become an essential piece of equipment on most North American farms.

A study just completed by Ipsos underlines what we’ve seen here at Real Agriculture — how farmers have fallen in love with and come to rely on their smartphones, even more than the general public.

The research firm found over 80 percent of Canadian grain farmers use a smartphone.

That’s a higher adoption rate than the overall population, points out Colin Siren, vice-president of Ipsos Ag and Animal Health.

“For the non-farming public that maybe thinks of farming as a non-technology based industry, it’s certainly not true,” he says, highlighting their findings in the video below.

While farmers use mobile technology for many of the same functions as non-farmers — to access social media, conduct banking and to stay current on news, Siren notes, “what’s really interesting and unique to the farm population is we’re seeing a lot of business-related functions and activities.”

“We can see there’s a relationship there in terms of not only using phones for personal use and the same types of things as the consumer, but also a more immersive way to run and manage their businesses,” he says.

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And unlike other media forms, mobile use among farmers increases during busy seasons.

“During those key periods, you probably have an audience that is maybe more than ever likely to see online advertising or be open to online messaging, and perhaps even looking for information to help them to make decisions in-field or about running and managing their business,” says Siren.

Mobile is also quickly passing desktop and other forms of “screen time.” The Ipsos study says half of Canadian field crop growers’ screen time is spent on a smartphone or a tablet with a data plan.

That means agribusinesses looking to reach farmers should aim to have a mobile-friendly experience, notes Siren.

“Your digital experience needs to be optimized for mobile. It also tells us if you’re looking at investing in a sophisticated digital approach to engaging and working with farmers, that the Canadian farm population is certainly ready.”

The full report, with more in-depth information on farmers’ mobile use, is available to Ipsos clients.

Ipsos Mobile Use Research Highlights:

  • Over 8 in 10 Canadian field crop growers have smartphones.
  • More than half of smartphone time is for farm-related purposes.
  • During peak seasons, growers average 2 hours on smartphones.
  • Half of Canadian field crop growers’ “screen time” is spent on a smartphone or tablet with a data plan.


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