Study Reveals Widespread Usage of Mobile Technology Among Canadian Farmers
December 21, 2011 | Jessica Vernabe
Canadian farmers are not afraid to use smartphones, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) announced.
FCC Senior Agriculture Economist Jean-Philippe Gervais said mobile mobile technology can provide a lot of value for producers.
“Getting access to relevant financial data and economic information can be a real advantage in a fast-moving marketplace,” he said. “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.”
FCC’s Vision Panel study surveyed 4,121 FCC Vision Panel members consisting of producers, agribusiness operators and agri-food operators on their technology use in June.
The study found that 29 percent of Canadian producers say they own smart phones, bringing them level with the 30 percent of the entire Canadian population that also own them. It also showed that farmers and the general population in Canada are equally as likely to own tablets (6 percent), devices that are expected to have the highest level of adoption among current smartphone users.
More than half (53) percent of Canadian producers who own a smart phone plan to buy a tablet within two years, FCC said. Tablets, which have strong Internet connection, can be used on vehicles and farm machinery, allowing producers to handle tasks such as order placement, product marketing and weather monitoring on the go.
The study showed that about 13 percent of producers are “early adopters” of new technologies and are the first among their peers to try them. About 36 percent of producers are part of the “early majority” and are willing to try new technologies after hearing positive feedback from their peers.
Producers willing to try new technology once it has been well established, or those part of the “late majority,” make up about 39 percent of producers. Those who typically do not try new technologies, or the “laggards,” make up about 12 percent.
These percentages closely mimic the general Canadian population, which has about 14 percent early adopters, 34 percent early majority, 34 percent late majority and 16 percent laggards, according to the study.
“Canadian producers are innovative and have historically adopted new technology so we weren’t surprised by the survey results,” said FCC Chief Operating Officer Remi Lemoine. “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.”
FCC lists the following as additional highlights from the study:
- Eighty-one percent of Canadian producers own a cell phone.
- Smartphones are owned most often by producers under 40 (41 percent) compared to their peers over the age of 40 (26 percent).
- Of the third of producers who own smartphones (29 percent), 63 percent are using Blackberry devices, while 24 percent are using iPhone devices.
- Fifty percent of producers who don’t own smartphones say they will never own one, while the other half expect to have one within the next two years.
- Eighty-six percent of respondents have high-speed Internet.
FCC is an agriculture lender with a portfolio of more than $21 billion and 18 consecutive years of portfolio growth, according to the organization. It provides financing, insurance, software, learning programs and other business services to producers, as well as to agribusiness and agri-food operations.