Farmers turning to online tools

By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo

Social media and smartphone topics have been popular at farm meetings this winter—and for good reason.
Many farmers and other agri-businesses are using these online and mobile tools to streamline and improve their communications and business activities.
Researchers, OMAFRA specialists, and other organizations that want to get current information out to the industry need to take advantage of these tools and be part of the conversation.
For the innovators and influencers who are using these tools, it’s a timely and efficient way to share information and ideas.
A team of OMAFRA field staff are leading an OMAFRA/University of Guelph initiative to determine the level of usage of various smartphone and mobile device platforms and communication tools, including social media, in the Ontario agriculture industry.
An online survey has just been launched, aimed at those working in agriculture across the province. The questions will focus on whether you are using social media, smartphones, or other Internet, media, and print resources in your agricultural business.
Agricultural students also are included in the survey.
Conducted by Ipsos Reid, the project team hopes to get participation from a wide range of people across the industry–and from those who get their information from a wide variety of sources, not just those with smartphones and social media accounts.
The existing ways of sharing information aren’t being thrown out just because we have some new tools. But with so many options out there, it’s a good time to ask people how they want to get their information.
The online survey, which should take less than 10 minutes to complete, is found at http://www.ipsosresearch.com/OMAFRA
Results will be available early in April.
The data will help agricultural organizations and businesses make decisions on where to focus their efforts in the fast-changing landscape of mobile tools and online communication.
This project is funded by Agri-Food and Rural Link, the Knowledge Translation and Transfer program under the OMAFRA-U of G Partnership.
Dates to remember
•March 3–Wild food workshop, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Devlin Hall (tickets are $25 each).

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