By Connor Lynch
Farmers may not be spending as much time as your average urban millennial staring at their phones, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t using them.
Farmers Forum talked to 20 Eastern and East-Central Ontario farmers about what they used their cell phones for the most, and what they liked best about them.
Using the phone as intended was tops. Most farmers favoured the cell phone as a tool of communication: Making phone calls, sending texts and emails.
But cell phones have a huge variety of other uses, particularly if you download some apps. Among them, weather apps reigned supreme: 70 per cent of farmers said they use the weather app on their phone more often than any other. The next most-used function was checking the markets: 25 per cent of farmers said they use it as much or more than the weather app, and more than any other non-communication function.
Only one farmer, Morrisburg’s Warren Schneckenburger said they used the camera most often but some said it was their favourite feature. Cash cropper Dean Patterson uses his camera for online banking: He can take a picture of a cheque with his cell phone and cash it digitally, saving him a trip to the bank. Cash crop farmer Steve Lefebvre uses his camera to keep track of information, taking pictures of chemical labels and part numbers. Custom operator and farmer Marcel LaFrance does the same. “My phone is full of photos of either parts that are broken or stuff that needs to be diagnosed with the dealer. You take a picture of it, you send it over, they give you an answer,” he said, saving a time-consuming back-and-forth over the phone.
There were a few unexpected uses. Ian Payne, a 49-year-old cash cropper, said he’s seen cell phones driving up sale prices at auctions. Young guys in the crowd were looking up the machine on sale to get some comparison prices, pushing up prices since guys knew exactly how high they were willing to go, he said.