Owners, operators and managers of farms and ranches rely on a variety of traditional and digital channels, with agricultural magazines and newspapers leading the way. This insight comes as part of the 2018 Agricultural Media Channel Study, released May 3 by Connectiv –The Business Information Association, a division of SIIA, the principal association representing the software and digital content industries. 

To explain and analyze the results, Connectiv Ag Media Committee and the National Agri-Marketing Association will host a free webinar on May 16th at 3:00 pm ET. 

The 2018 results paint an overall picture similar to recent studies. As seen in prior studies, magazines and newspapers are again the top resource used on a weekly basis by operators. Even when looking at the data by daily digital user, the trend is the same. Print media continues to be the number one driver for prompting operators to visit agricultural websites.

The 2018 study again analyzed the purchase funnel. As has been the case in previous studies, print, digital and in person resources each play a point-specific role in the purchasing process, meaning an integrated media plan needs to be considered. 

When it comes to digital behaviors, specifically, use of the internet, social media, videos and webinars, the 2018 results show that nearly one in five operators do not access the internet—making traditional media particularly important in reaching this group. Farmers and ranchers under 35 years of age are more likely than older operators to access the internet, making them more reachable via digital channels. But still, agricultural magazines and newspapers continue to be heavily relied on by the younger generation.

In spite of the growing use of digital media, print remains the #1 source for farmers and ranchers, with 68 percent using agricultural magazines or newspapers at least weekly. 


“It’s very compelling to see how farmers and ranchers continue to use print and digital platforms in harmony to support staying on top of their business on a weekly and monthly basis,” said Matt Herman, Chairman of the Connectiv Agri Media Committee and Publisher of DTN/The Progressive Farmer. “Print remains the essential platform for agriculture, while digital offers an opportunity to communicate more quickly and in more places. Our study shows that there is likely to be a strong digital adoption in the future, with a younger generation using websites and smartphones more often,” says Herman.

Among the key findings of the Connectiv study: 

  • Two-thirds of operators (68%) use ag magazines/newspapers at least weekly; no more than 32% use each other channel as often.
  • Nearly all (92%) use ag magazines/newspapers at least monthly; no more than 55% use each other channel as often.
  • Sixty-nine percent of farmers and ranchers under 35 years of age access ag-related websites from a smartphone at least weekly.
  • Nearly one in five operators do not access the internet—making traditional media particularly important in reaching this group.
  • About half of operators use/access social media, most commonly Facebook and/or YouTube.
  • Sixty-eight percent of daily digital users are prompted to visit a website from newspapers and magazines.

The study finds that agricultural market is dynamic on many fronts including how farmers and ranchers access information. They use a wide range of traditional, in-person and digital channels to get the information needed to help run and manage their operations. 

While the use of many digital and mobile channels has been increasing steadily over time, traditional media continues to be heavily used by operators. Marketers looking to drive traffic to their websites should rely on many channels to accomplish the goal, but magazines and newspapers are the leading tool. 

The study also finds that higher earning operators are much more likely to find digital channels important than smaller operations. This relationship between income and technology means marketers will need to continue to use an integrated media strategy to effectively impact the agriculture industry.