Helping beef graziers in an IT world

Helping beef graziers in an IT world

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

ABS figures indicate the age the average farmer is 57; 77 per cent are male; and have 37 years experience. This provides a valuable insight.into knowing and meeting customers needs and expectations in NRM.

The average beef grazier in the area is around 65, and whilst most have moved forward in animal husbandry practices with industry, most remain reticent to engage with internet technology.

Upper Clarence Combined Landcare (UCCL) introduced regional internet and mobile phones some 15 years ago. It is fair to say that many graziers react against and reject communications technology at all but the basic level.

Mobile phones are used primarily as phones and nothing else. Social media is rarely used, and whilst some have an email address, they generally do not use it or do not know  it. The level of access to government agency websites; conferencing facilities; podcasts; blogs;Youtube is low.

The NRM challenge for UCCL and government agencies is to continue to establish networks and distribute information. The place to start is with an understanding of customer needs and preferences. The hindrance is the cost and logistics of the customer preferred hard copy communications.

The solution

UCCL regularly supports graziers with minimal levels of computing knowledge and skill by providing assistance to access information and communicate and in dealings with industry and government.

Common examples include: access to online training and accreditation programs e.g. Livestock Product Assurance; lodgement of online private native forestry annual returns; accessing and lodgement of applications for disaster relief; and locating property boundaries especially in relation to Crown Road reserves.

The background scenario is one of educational disadvantage in the remote rural socioeconomically disadvantaged community and the continuing withdrawal of resources and services including most recently local rural printed media. In addition, many service blackspot locations still exist

Increasingly services information and consultation by government at all levels are delivered primarily online, resulting in loss of engagement and reduced uptake of information locally.

Impacts of providing assistance are positive in that the customers immediate need is addressed, but to expect graziers to upskill and regularly spend valuable time online is unrealistic. Simply posting items on the internet or on social media is unlikely to result in effective communication, engagement, knowledge and skills development with respect to NRM and sustainable agriculture. We continue to discuss this issue with LLS regional staff and the Regional Landcare Coordinator.

The impact

Key facts

  • Average age of beef graziers is circa 65
  • Most are reticent to engage with internet technology beyond basic use of mobile phones
  • They are disadvantaged as service delivery targeted to their needs is increasingly internet based
  • Landcare offers face to face support
  • This is helpful, but only a stop gap measure
  • Landcare is working with NRM agencies to better understand its customer base and its needs and expectations