Survey seeks farmers' connectivity experiences to push forward agritech

The NFU has launched a farmer-focused broadband and mobile phone survey in a bid to inform its work on getting an efficient service rolled out in rural areas.

The union's annual digital technology survey is now open for farmers to give feedback on their experiences with broadband and mobile signals.

Farmers are encouraged to take part to help identify the challenges and opportunities in accessing better uses for digital technology on farm.

The survey will also provide an evidence base for lobbying the government for greater coverage and investment in digital infrastructure.

It comes as the pandemic has exacerbated frustrations around slow broadband speeds and lack of mobile signals in rural areas.

And despite farmers and growers increasingly using digital technologies to farm more efficiently, there are still many who struggle to make a phone call due to poor signals.

The NFU's 2020 digital technology report, based on a snapshot of 430 farmers, highlighted major division between rural and urban connectivity.

It showed that more than 40 percent of farms across the UK experienced sluggish broadband speeds, in turn hampering business growth.

The union warned earlier this year that inadequate and unreliable broadband was "threatening the survivability of many farming businesses".

Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “Broadband and mobile connectivity is a fundamental part of modern society, especially as the pandemic made us even more reliant on virtual communications both within the business sphere and our personal lives.

“This survey is one of the cornerstones of NFU engagement with government when it comes to fighting for greater coverage and investment in rural digital infrastructure.

"I urge you all to take part – this is a chance to share your experiences and have your say.”

This year’s survey will also cover experiences taking part in virtual business meetings, online banking and remote learning as part of home-schooling.

Source: Agritech Future