Fresh Pastures: Unlocking Opportunities in Rural New Zealand

Fresh Pastures: Unlocking Opportunities in Rural New Zealand


With an improved business outlook, farmers are ready to spend. Be that shelling out on infrastructure or perhaps upgrading to that latest tractor or ute. By understanding their unique lifestyle, retailers and manufacturers can better reach this segment of the population and serve their specific needs.


The rural community in New Zealand account for 2% of the country’s 4.5 million people. They work on, manage or own beef, sheep, dairy, livestock, crop or horticulture farms.

Today’s Kiwi farmers are digitally savvy with their use of technology being on a par if not ahead of the general population. Investment in communication technology illustrates how farms are run as a business. Access to the latest information via the internet can impact key decisions, e.g.  livestock sales reports, export schedules and up to the minute weather forecasts.

85% of farmers have a PC or laptop in the household, while more than a third (36%) have a tablet. They are also more likely to have a Smart TV. And yet they spend a lot less time online than the average New Zealander at only 5 hours per week (compared to 14 hours for the average). This is probably a result of those in the agriculture sector being time poor and having to work most days of the week. 


In the coming year, around a third of farmers are planning to invest in infrastructure (37%) and farm machinery (31%). A quarter are looking to buy or upgrade their vehicles (24%) and 14% plan to spend on finance and insurance. 


Farm owners and managers habits differ from the general population. But retailers and manufactures can connect with them by keeping their unique needs in mind when marketing to them. Tailored content is the most effective, especially when they are considering new purchase items for the farm.

Rural newspapers and magazines are the number one resource for farmers when looking for information, new ideas or advice for all their farming materials, machinery and infrastructure requirements. 

As time is precious, farmers require content specific to them. Rural newspapers and magazines occupy a primary role for farmer’s news and information sources with 88% reading them¹.  91% say that rural publications help them find the latest products and services and three quarters of them say they are the most trusted source of news and information concerning the rural sector.  Farmers are also going online, 73% of those who have used the internet at least once a month, have read online farming or rural news articles.

¹Read at least one copy within the issue period.


The report delivers consumer and media insights across the rural sector including beef, sheep, dairy, livestock, crop and horticulture farms (excludes floriculture, vegetable growing, grape growing and forestry). The survey, in field from 11 July to 22 August 2014, has a sample of over 1,600 respondents and the data is weighted to Statistics NZ by farm size by type to represent over 46,000 farms nationwide. Results in the survey represent one consumer per farm. The standard deviation for the survey is +/-2.2%.