Internet Access in Rural Markets Growing Quicker Than The Crops
As true as this statement is for the vast majority of us, it is still like a drink from a garden hose for farmers, in terms of access to data. High speed internet access has been a challenge for those in rural America. In his presidential campaign, one of President Obama’s plans to create jobs was to extend cable/fiber optics out from metropolitan areas and small towns into the countryside in order to give more Americans better internet access. Sadly, for various reasons, this never materialized and all that remained available was DSL and satellite “high speed”, which is not much better than DSL and fairly expensive.
So, is it any wonder that the Ag industry is lagging behind the rest of America in the digital space? The industry has been catching up and now I think that some recent activity suggests that the Ag industry, as well as rural America, is about to catch up quickly.
Over the past two years we have seen tremendous growth in the use of mobile. We know that farmers are using both smartphones and tablets more than ever to access the internet. Not only are we seeing it in our own analytics for our clients, but our online publishers are seeing it as well.
The number of click-thrus or visits to websites through mobile devices has nearly doubled in the past year alone. AgWeb.com, one of the industry’s largest websites just announced that 40% of their traffic comes from mobile devices. Just over a year ago, that number was 22%.
With precision farming, auto-steer tractors and combines are now being sold with GPS and 4G WiFi, some come with tablets included. Farmers are able to work, research and check weather and markets using their mobile devices in the cabs of their machines while they are at work in the field.
We imagine that all of rural America will be following suit.