Canadian producers are keeping up with the times when it comes to the use of mobile technology. Farmers have been as quick to purchase a smartphone (29%) as other Canadians (30%), according to a recent Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Vision panel study (PDF).
It’s the same story for tablet use. Six per cent of producers own a tablet, as do 6% of Canadians. Tablet adoption is expected to be highest among current smartphone users. More than half (53%) of Canadian producers who own a smartphone today plan to buy a tablet within two years. With a strong web connection, these devices can turn vehicles and farm machinery into a mobile office where producers can conveniently place orders, market products, and monitor weather, interest rates and grain markets, for example.
“Getting access to relevant financial data and economic information can be a real advantage in a fast-moving marketplace. 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,” says Jean-Philippe Gervais, FCC Senior Agriculture Economist.
“Canadian producers are innovative and have historically adopted new technology so we weren’t surprised by the survey results. 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,” said FCC Chief Operating Officer, Rémi Lemoine.
Additional survey highlights:
- One third of producers (36%) will try new technology once they hear positive feedback from their peers.
- 81% of Canadian producers own a cell phone.
- Smartphones are owned most often by producers under 40 (41%) compared to their peers over the age of 40 (26%).
- Of the one third of producers who own a smartphone (29%), the majority are using a Blackberry (63%), while 24% are using an iPhone.
- 50% 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.
- 86% of respondents have high speed Internet.
“The survey is another reminder that agriculture is a progressive industry,” says FCC President and CEO Greg Stewart. “The agriculture and agri-food industry employs one in eight people in Canada and feeds people around the world through exports to nearly 200 countries. New technology and innovation are going to continue to be a strategic advantage in helping to ensure that Canada remains a leader in the new global knowledge economy.”
FCC Vision Panel members – over 9,000 producers and agribusiness and agri-food operators – were asked about their use of technology in June 2011. The survey was sent to 9,190 Vision panelists and 4,121 responded translating into a 45% response rate. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 1%, 19 times out of 20 on a sample of this size.