What motivates farmers? What frustrates them? What gives them satisfaction? And how can the businesses that serve farmers make better, stronger connections?
The most effective way to get answers is to go right to the farm and ask these important questions and that’s exactly what AdFarm’s FarmVoice has done. Over the past few months, the FarmVoice team travelled to major growing regions in Canada and conducted interviews with seven focus groups who shared their thoughts and perspectives.
The results were presented at the first-ever AdFarm FarmVoice event in Calgary on May 4. Joining Calgary AdFarmers were special guests from a variety of companies including Farm Credit Canada, UFA, CIBC, ATB, Agriculture Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, and Meyers Norris Penny.
The three-hour presentation covered a wide range of topics including what growers like and dislike about farming, where they see opportunity and threats, how they evaluate business relationships, where and how they prefer to get information, and what the new digital era means to them.
A new and exciting online presentation format was used that combined videos of the growers sharing their thoughts with imagery, data breakdowns and audience participation to help convey the most important insights.
The presentation, delivered by Scott Samoleski, hit the mark by bringing insights about AdFarmer’s ultimate client – growers. “Getting this close to growers is one of the ways that AdFarm is able to deliver on our brand promise of digging deeper into agriculture. There were a lot of insights uncovered; some were pretty straightforward, but then there were some surprises as well,” says Samoleski. “For example, there’s an overwhelming feeling that agriculture and farmers are misunderstood by the public, but rather than relying on government or media to tell that story growers are really starting to take on the burden themselves. We had one female grower who told us they accommodate school trips to their operation just to keep youth informed about how farms actually work.” Some other topics of interest included which companies are perceived positively and negatively in the industry, what growers expect from mobile applications, and just what keeps farmers farming.
The participants are from across Canada, operate on an average of 3300 acres in the west and 1100 acres in the east, and have an average age of 29. “The profile of the FarmVoice growers tends to be a little younger and more robust in terms of business size than what we typically see,” explains Samoleski. “That’s definitely on purpose, because we want to tap into what’s on the horizon for the younger farmers who are just starting to gain momentum in the industry.”
Similar FarmVoice initiatives will be conducted periodically to share knowledge and insights with AdFarmers, AdFarm clients and interested industry stakeholders – so stay tuned for more to come!
Interested in attending future events? Or have some thoughts to share on the first one?
We’d love to hear feedback on this initial FarmVoice event, so tell us what stood out for you. Or, if you missed it and are interested in hearing more or getting on the list for future FarmVoice events, get in touch with Scott Samoleski, Shannon Warren, or myself – Melissa Sawatzky.
Melissa Sawatzky is always eager to share and explore ideas with others. Contact her directly at Melissa.Sawatzky@adfarmonline.com