Broadband rollout will speed farm life
Farmers’ ability to take full advantage of the MINDA software program has always been hampered because some farms cannot get broadband.
But that is about to change with the Government spending $ 285 million on high-speed rural broadband, which will enable the service to be provided to more rural areas across New Zealand.
The largest provider of herd and farm management services in New Zealand, Livestock Improvement Corporation ( LIC), supplies the MINDA service and is consequently backing the government initiative.
LIC Farm Systems general manager Rob Ford is a member of the Government Advisory Group representing the concerns of his company’s shareholders and said it was difficult to comprehend the value of the Government’s initiative to rural communities.
‘‘Which is why I’m asking LIC shareholders who don’t currently have access to send us an email or letter in the mail and tell us if they want high speed broadband and, assuming they do, what it will mean for their families, their businesses and their communities.
‘‘The Government is providing the infrastructure. Telecom and Vodafone have the capability in place but to ensure a smooth roll-out, we need to understand the expectations and concerns of the users. We need to know what the perceived barriers are for adopting the technology and how they plan to utilise it in their home and on-farm.
‘‘Some farmers might be looking forward to being able to carry out more shopping online, or it could be as simple as enjoying the much faster speed, particularly for their MINDA records,’’ he said.
The Rural Broadband Advisory Group is responsible for providing feedback on the Government’s plans, taking into account the views of the rural end users.
Mr Ford was appointed by Communications Minister Steven Joyce because of his farming knowledge and experience from overseeing LIC’s suite of technology products.
High-speed internet and wireless technology across more farms would mean more farmers would have access to more technology products and farm software programs.
‘‘Upwards of 8000 farmers access their animal records electronically on MINDA and during the busy times of the year these farmers will access their electronic MINDA records at least once a day.
‘‘ Which is great if you have broadband, but on the lower-speed internet this can be quite a lengthy process,’’ Mr Ford said.