Surprise as farmers benefit from embracing the internet

Farmers are reaping the benefits of going online, according to a recent survey by ADAS.

The study, which involved the participation of over 2,000 farmers from across England and Wales, has  revealed some surprising statistics:

Over three quarters of farmers now use the web to seek information

73% of farmers use email

Half of farmers connected to the net are on broadband

Andy Offer, ADAS IT business manager, said: ""There is a common misconception that farmers are behind the rest of the community when it comes to IT technology, but these results suggest that this is not so - farmers have caught up very quickly in the last few years.

"What is especially encouraging is the huge increase in internet use reported" said Offer. "There are now a higher percentage of farmers using the web for their business than actually own a business computer. This means that for the first time we see a separation from the 'office based' computer doing the accounts and the information sourcing, which indicates that the 'business' computer could just as easily be in the kid's bedroom." 

Another telling statistic is that 73% of farmers with computers are using email - a huge jump from the last time the survey was conducted, five years ago, when the figure was just over 40%.

Other notable trends are the increasing value farmers are placing on the legislative advice available on the web and a better understanding of how the technology can help their businesses survive and thrive in these tough times. 

Gone are the general moans about need for training, ease of use and price, which have been replaced by a more intelligent debate about value to the business and need for information. That said, over half of the farmers not using the web said they found it easier to find the information they needed by other means.