Cornish farmers lead the UK in use of broadband
New research shows that take up of broadband by farmers in
Cornwall is higher than by farmers anywhere else in the UK.
The research was commissioned by actnow,
the pioneering Objective One partnership project that is led
by Cornwall Enterprise and is spearheading the growth of broadband
in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The research was part-funded
by the Cornwall Agricultural Council Development Team.
The research, carried out by Martyn Warren of the Rural Futures
Unit at Plymouth University, reveals that 44% of farmers in
Cornwall now have broadband technology.
The use of broadband by Cornish farmers has been accelerated
by actnow, which has promoted the benefits
of broadband and ICT to farmers since 2005, offering rebates
on broadband connection costs and free tailored advice on
how farmers can make the most of the technology to help increase
their efficiency and profitability.
Martyn Warren says: "This research shows that Cornish
farmers are ahead of the game, realising that broadband technology
can help them improve their business. Broadband helps them
save time and money, improving efficiency, reducing overheads
and paperwork. Broadband streamlines communications with Defra
and government bodies and for many farmers, it is also opening
up new marketing channels."
The research shows that 73% of Cornish farmers use at least
one computer in the business and 61% use the internet. 60%
say that they expect use of the internet for their business
to increase in the next 12 months.
Those farmers who use broadband find it brings a number of
advantages such as freeing up a phone line, enabling online
banking, online purchasing and email communications with customers
and suppliers at a time that suits them. Over 60% of broadband
users think that it will increase opportunities for further
21% of farmers have their own websites, mostly farmers with
Older farmers are less likely to use a computer or the internet,
with around 20% of the current generation of farmers unlikely
ever to use a computer.
Nigel Ashcroft, Project Director of actnow
says: "Not only is take up amongst farmers already
the highest in the UK, there is also strong interest amongst
those farmers that have not yet signed up to broadband, so
we can expect to see yet more farmers take advantage of the
technology in the months ahead. 53% of those still using a
dial up connection say they are highly likely to switch to
David Rodda of the Cornwall Agricultural Council Development
Team says: "It is excellent to see that 30% of farmers
want to explore how the increased use of technology can benefit
their business by using such technology as precision farming.
This technology can be used to increase efficiencies, for
example by using satellite technology to help pinpoint precisely
where nutrients are required and to avoid the overlapping
of field operations. Adopting this technology as another tool
for use on the farm alongside the tractor will play an increasing
role in the future of farming in Cornwall and the Isles of
Bill Holliday of the Rural Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Partnership
says: "The research shows that 61% farmers say they
are saving time as a result of broadband and 40% are making
cost savings, which means that they can invest more time and
money in business development. These are very positive findings,
justifying the significant investment through the SWRDA 'Modernising
Rural Delivery' scheme. Farming is at the heart of our
rural communities and it is encouraging to see that farmers
in Cornwall are making the most of broadband to improve productivity,
facing current challenges in the industry and the future with
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership,
says: "High speed internet access and the knowledge
of how to use it to best advantage is becoming essential for
businesses to grow and prosper in the 21st century. This particular
actnow initiative is supporting farmers in
many aspects of their business including diversification and
streamlining and I would encourage farmers to take advantage
of the support on offer."
to see the research results and many case studies of how broadband
has helped farmers in Cornwall.
actnow has recently released additional
funding for farmers, allowing the continued funding of investments
such as computers, farming software and website development.
For further information about how actnow
can help make the most of broadband, including rebates on
broadband costs and free tailored advice, call actnow
on 0800 800 935.
For further information contact Lynn File at Brand Innovation
on 07968 015731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the actnow project through
the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European
Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
The actnow programme is a demand-led initiative
to encourage businesses in Cornwall to gain the support they
need to move into the broadband economy. It is one of the
largest private and public sector partnerships in Cornwall
since Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was granted Objective
One status by the European Union in 2000.
The £20 million pound project is part financed by the
European Union through the European Regional Development Fund
(ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee
Fund (EAGGF). Other project partners include Cornwall Enterprise,
the Objective One Partnership Office, BT, the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the South West of England
Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), the Cornwall County Council,
Business Link Devon and Cornwall, Cornwall College and Rural
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Partnership.
For more information, call Lynn File at Brand Innovation
on 07968 015731.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439