MKC Blog > December 2020 > An Important Mix

An Important Mix

December 3, 2020

farmer-on-phone.jpgAre you one that loves to open up a crisp new magazine to learn the latest news, tips or tricks, or one who strolls social media and your favorite websites each day? Even better, do you have a balanced mix of both?

While equipment, precision ag and other areas of the industry have brought more traditional farming operations into the digital age, access to news and information has changed too for farmers and ranchers.


Growing Online

Quoting a study by Successful Farming, “70% of farmers are online daily,” and almost a third are online multiple times each day. This was no doubt helped by the fact that in the past eight years, the number of farms with internet access rose from 60% to 71%, further closing the gap that divides growers from the national average of around 74%.

According to a 2017 Farm Journal Media mobile research survey, phone calls are by far the most popular and common reason farmers give for using their phones. However, texting, sending and receiving emails, checking social media and monitoring the weather are also commonplace activities.

Producers send texts and access mobile websites fairly consistently between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to Meredith Agrimedia’s 2015 Farmers’ Use of Media Survey. In contrast, use of desktop or full websites, social media sites and e-newsletters peaks around dinner time, about 6 p.m.


Farmers and Ranchers Use Social too

More and more farmers are actively engaging in social media platforms, for both personal and business reasons.

In the early days, social media wasn’t much more than a way for teenagers and college students to let their friends know what they were doing throughout the day. Times have changed. In fact, according to iStrategyLabs’ Facebook demographics report, Facebook’s fastest growing age demographic is people over the age of 55. Also, a PEW Research report on social media found that 56% of internet users ages 65 and older now use Facebook, up from 45% a couple years prior.

Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform used by producers, according to the 2015 Meredith Agrimedia study and a 2016 Farm Futures survey. Other frequently used social media channels include YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. Farmers use these channels the same way many of us do. Facebook and LinkedIn are most frequently used to connect with family, friends and colleagues, while YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest are most used for entertainment. About 46% of farmers use Facebook for personal reasons, and of those, 56% are 35 years old or younger.

But farmers are also tapping into social media — specifically YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — for general news and information about products and services that can help them improve their farming operations. In the 2015 Meredith Agrimedia study, 51% of surveyed producers reported using YouTube to watch news, music and educational programs. But they’re also watching product demos from ag companies or retailers and ag news videos. And according to the Farm Futures survey, while only 9% of producers use Facebook for farm business reasons, that percentage jumps to 21% for the 35-and-under crowd.


Traditional Media

Increased digital media use hasn’t occurred at the expense of traditional agricultural media outlets such as ag magazines, newspapers and farm radio. Several agri-marketing surveys show farmers and ranchers are consuming more information in general and are using a variety of traditional, digital and face-to-face channels.

Make no mistake: Traditional print media are still essential for multiple demographics including younger producers and larger operations. In fact, use of ag magazines and newspapers is consistently high across all age groups. But digital media offer the opportunity to communicate more quickly and in more places.


Communicating During COVID

As with all companies this year, MKC has had to show its flexibility and creativity when it comes to communicating with its customers.

Since the impacts of COVID-19, large meetings, farm shows and even farm visits have been abandoned for everyone’s health and safety. MKC account managers discovered new ways to communicate with customers through online tools, and email and digital messages continued to be key in these times.

The truth is, the agri-marketing landscape continues to evolve as new media and technology are introduced and become more widely accepted. Today we have more options than ever before to effectively engage farmers and ranchers, and they have more options for getting the information they need to help run and manage their operations. What’s more, the newest generation returning to the farm is extremely comfortable with digital technology. That makes understanding how, when and why farmers and ranchers use various digital media channels essential for agri-marketers wanting to deliver the right content at the right time to the right person using the right channel.

Posted: 12/3/2020 3:48:20 PM by Kelli Schrag | with 0 comments

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