With the cancelation of farm shows and in person events, farmers have had to find new ways to stay informed and gather information. A recent national survey indicated most are turning to and tuning into a trusted source, the radio.
A just released survey by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting shows that 71% of farmers listen to farm radio. Jasper County farmer Kendell Culp said, “I like one stop shopping. So if I can tune into my farm broadcaster and get the markets, the weather, and what is happening around the world as well as here in Indiana that will impact my farm, I really like that.” According to the survey, farmers listen to radio 4.7 days per week, on average.
Illinois farmer Kyle Bracey noted that, while radio is not new technology, it an information source used by growers of any age group. “Almost all of the equipment we have has a radio in it,” he stated. “I think there is a misconception that younger farmers don’t listen to the radio, but I don’t think that is true.” This was supported by the research which showed consistent use of radio by farmers across ag demographics.
The NAFB research indicated that most farmer radio listening takes place while driving or operating farm equipment, 82% while driving a pickup and 64% while operating farm equipment.
AM radio is still king with farmers. The NAFB study showed 62% listen to AM and 53% listening on FM. Less than 20% said they use satellite radio.
With more and more farm radio programs also being put into podcasts, some farmers including Sarah Lovas from North Dakota are listening to podcasts, “I put my earbuds on and listen to podcasts of farm news while I am on my 4 wheeler scouting fields.” The research indicated that 6% of farmers are regular listeners to podcasts.
Culp says, in the end, radio still fits the informational needs of farmers especially during these pandemic days, “I like what is easiest for me and what is most available to me; and, if I can dial in and get what is important to me, I do it.”
In recent years, many radio stations have started airing farm programs on Saturday. Farmers are responding by listening more and for a longer period of time on Saturday. The study showed 58% of respondents listen to farm programs on Saturday.
The survey suggests that farmers are not big users of social media compared to the general population. Less than half of those responding, 48%, said they used Facebook, 46% YouTube, and 11% Twitter. Twitter use, however, was higher among younger farmers.
The survey results were based on over 200 telephone interviews of farmers with a Gross Farm Income of over $100,000; who farm, on average, over 1000 acres; and who had a farm radio station in their area. The average age was 57 years old. The complete study can be found at NAFB.com
The audio comments contained in this article came from a Webinar held early in 2021, sponsored by the J.L. Farmakis organization. More details on this event and on future farmer webinars can be found at https://www.jlfarmakis.com/