Social media helps dairying women learn on-farm technology
18 October 2013
Social media helps dairying women learn more about on-farm technology
Facebook forums and YouTube videos replace face-to-face workshops this month when the Dairy Women’s Network launches its second annual virtual learning forum. The Technology on Farm topic will feature presentations from some of the country’s leading agribusinesses to help dairying women get better at using apps, smartphones and different online systems.
The Dairy Women’s Network is the premier forum for women working in New Zealand’s dairy industry. With more than 4000 members, it works to enhance the leadership and business skills of women in a changing agribusiness environment. It does this by providing a range of educational and networking resources.
Recent research from DairyNZ shows that almost 50 per cent of dairy farmers have smartphones.
Dairy Women’s Network executive chair Michelle Wilson said increasingly farmers expect to be able to use new technology on the farm to add to the efficiency of their business. She added that despite rural internet and broadband challenges, rural New Zealanders also expected the same access to online services as their urban neighbours.
“With this philosophy in mind, last year we went ahead and successfully delivered our first virtual forum which was a webcast about developing human resources skills for dairy farm employers. It was incredibly successful and was viewed by 1750 members.”
Mrs Wilson said this year the Network’s Facebook page, which has 1265 followers, will be the meeting place for its members to view a series of short video presentations about Technology on Farm from ASB, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, CRV Ambreed, Tru-Test and Agritec to help dairying women better understand the types of technology available to them and how to use it.
Participants will then post questions and share their thoughts, comments and ideas for using the technology with each other on the Facebook page.
Waikato technology and agriculture research organisation Agritec will show participants how to get smarter by using their phones on farm.
Digital resource developer Marlene Williamson said Agritec will demonstrate how by thinking laterally smartphones can contribute to improving health and safety and human resource practices.
“Smartphones are so much more than phones and many farmers are only just starting to embrace their capabilities. Often farmers learn about what they can do informally from other farmers so this training is a great opportunity to share our knowledge with a greater number people and hopefully get them more interested in using phone technology in everyday farming,” said Mrs Williamson.
The Network’s traditional Dairy Days are a series of one-day workshops which run twice a year across the country covering a range of topics from essential business skills to on-farm practices. The virtual forum is an extension of the Dairy Days.
Mrs Wilson said members can sign up to as many or as few of the technology sessions as they like, and there is no charge for the online information. For those who can’t join the online forums a DVD is available for purchase.
“The Dairy Women’s Network was founded on using technology to empower dairying women. Our email forum which started in 2002 was a leading innovation at the time and is still really well-used. Today forums such as our Facebook page are becoming increasingly popular and it makes a lot of sense to use social media to come together and talk about technology.”
Technology on Farm Dairy Days start on 28 October. For more information and to register visit www.dwn.org.nz