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Young farmers and information & communication technologies (ICTs)

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Family farming is a predominant form of agriculture both in developed and developing countries, with over 500 million productive units in the entire world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAO is promoting 2014 as the international year of family farming. This particular form of agriculture work refers to farms that are managed by family members and are usually small or medium in size and productivity. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are playing a key role in this scenario. New generations, mainly, are in permanent movement, conceiving the two spaces as complementary. Mobile phones, particularly, are providing today a great platform to connect them to the "rurbanity," a new (key) concept to understand hybrid spaces where cities and the countryside are part of the same social reality.

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Young farmers and information & communication technologies (ICTs)

  1. 1. YOUNG FARMERS AND ICT Mapping the social and technological t raj e c to ri e s o f “rurban ” youth Matias E. Centeno
  2. 2. WHERE I COME FROM … Local Development & Extension Unit - San Luis National Institute of Agriculture Technologies – INTA (Argentina) Communication Depar tment National University of San Luis (Argentina) PhD in Social Communication National University of Rosario (Argentina)
  3. 3. Research Facts Methodology Context in Washington State Analytical Framework Preliminary Findings … WHERE DO I WANT TO GO Young Farmers & ICT
  4. 4. RESEARCH FACTS
  5. 5. PROBLEM ICT are introducing diverse changes in family farming practices  At the communication, organizational and social level  Generating intergenerational tensions
  6. 6. RESEARCH QUESTIONS  Agriculture… has been renewed by ICTs? What is driving this change?  How is ICT relevant for agricultural development? What role is youth playing under this scenario?
  7. 7. RESEARCH GOALS  To understand the dif ferent meanings of youth and the diverse ways to be young.  To study the role of ICT in the countryside and family farming.  To explore the social changes in rural areas.  To think about the farmers of the future.
  8. 8. METHODOLOGY
  9. 9. METHODOLOGY Open interviews Participant observation  Focus groups Workshops Censal data analysis
  10. 10. METHODOLOGY Field work in four countries Argentina  San Luis province  Started in 2013 and continuing in 2015  200 young people involved in surveys, workshops and focus groups
  11. 11. METHODOLOGY Field work in four countries USA Washington State  42 people interviewed in the State
  12. 12. METHODOLOGY Field work in four countries  Spain Catalunya Region  To be completed in September to December 2014
  13. 13. Field work in four countries  Italy Reggio Emilia Province  Projected METHODOLOGY
  14. 14. CONTEXT IN WASHINGTON STATE
  15. 15. WHY DO WE CARE?  Agricul ture has a relevant contribution to Washington Economy.  Farming population is decreasing (rural too).  Average age of farmers keeps cl imbing.  The chal lenge of the generational shi f t in fami ly farming.  Di f ferent notions of youth.  ICT plataform in rural and urban areas. $49 Billion revenue 160,000 jobs 13% of the state’s overall economy Source: Washington Farm Bureau (2014)
  16. 16.  Agricul ture has a relevant contribution to Washington Economy.  Farming population is decreasing (rural too).  Average age of farmers keeps cl imbing.  The chal lenge of the generational shi f t in fami ly farming.  Di f ferent notions of youth.  ICT plataform in rural and urban areas. WHY DO WE CARE? Farms -9,5% 2007 2012 National average: -1.6% Source: 2012 Census of Agriculture USDA / NASS
  17. 17.  Agricul ture has a relevant contribution to Washington Economy.  Farming population is decreasing (rural too).  Average age of farmers keeps cl imbing.  The chal lenge of the generational shi f t in fami ly farming.  Di f ferent notions of youth.  ICT plataform in rural and urban areas. WHY DO WE CARE? Rural population -4,9% 2000 2010 National average: -8% Source: US Census Bureau
  18. 18.  Agricul ture has a relevant contribution to Washington Economy.  Farming population is decreasing (rural too).  Average age of farmers keeps cl imbing.  The chal lenge of the generational shi f t in fami ly farming.  Di f ferent notions of youth.  ICT plataform in rural and urban areas. WHY DO WE CARE? Average age of 57 farmers 58.8 2007 2012 National average: 57,1 (2007) – 58,3 (2012) Source: 2012 Census of Agriculture USDA / NASS
  19. 19.  Agricul ture has a relevant contribution to Washington Economy.  Farming population is decreasing (rural too).  Average age of farmers keeps cl imbing.  The chal lenge of the generational shi f t in fami ly farming.  Di f ferent notions of youth.  ICT plataform in rural and urban areas. WHY DO WE CARE? Farmers over 55 years old +7,1% 2007 2012 Source: 2012 Census of Agriculture USDA / NASS
  20. 20.  Agricul ture has a relevant contribution to Washington Economy.  Farming population is decreasing (rural too).  Average age of farmers keeps cl imbing.  The chal lenge of the generational shi f t in fami ly farming.  Di f ferent notions of youth.  ICT plataform in rural and urban areas. WHY DO WE CARE? © Bill Dickinson CC License
  21. 21.  Agricul ture has a relevant contribution to Washington Economy.  Farming population is decreasing (rural too).  Average age of farmers keeps cl imbing.  The chal lenge of the generational shi f t in fami ly farming.  Di f ferent notions of youth.  ICT plataform in rural and urban areas. WHY DO WE CARE?
  22. 22. ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK
  23. 23. THE WASHINGTON STATE RIDE  June to August 2014  13 locations in 6 Counties  42 people interviewed  Farmers  Organizations  Companies  Public officials  Students  Educators Elma (GH) Everett (Sn) Lacey (T) Mounut Vernon (Sk) Oakville (GH) Olympia (T) Outlook (Y) Redmond (K) Seattle (K) Sunnyside (Y) Wapato (Y) Yakima (Y) Zillah (Y)
  24. 24. ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK Institutional Policy Socio - Generational Media - Tech
  25. 25. PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
  26. 26. PRELIMINARY FINDINGS Types of young farmers Narratives Rurbanity
  27. 27. YOUTH IN FRONT OF FAMILY FARMING  1. Breakers  2. Wait & seers  3. Hobby-Farmers  4. Connected  5. New farmers Types of young farmers
  28. 28. BREAKERS  Rural young decide to not continue with farming.  Several of them leave the countryside and became urban.  Why?  Because they don’t like farming;  Want to study;  want an urban life;  follow their friends;  don’t agree with the family management;  or feel that they don’t have an opportunity to introduce changes in the family organization.
  29. 29. WAIT & SEERS  Rural youth bel ieve that they need to wait for the right time to take on the company and introduce changes.  This youth continue with fami ly farming, but not always in the same area as their parents or not with the same methodology.
  30. 30. CONNECTED  They studied or leave the fami ly organization but are sti l l connected with agriculture from other positions (educator, public of ficer, company employee).  Usually they col laborate with the fami ly by providing information, knowledge or know-how.
  31. 31. HOBBY FARMERS  They leave the farm but returning in hol idays or some weekends to help in some specific task.  They do it for fun or fami ly commitment.  Maybe one d ay t h ey wi l l b e c ome b ac k …
  32. 32. NEW FARMERS  Urban dwellers interested in farming. Some of them leaves the cities and star t a new l ife in the countryside, mixing urban and rural l ifestyles.  Several are the first generation of new farmers.  Anothers stay in the cities but star t working in agriculture, providing services to new and older farmers.
  33. 33. YOUTH IN FRONT OF FAMILY FARMING Young people are introducing ICTs in farming management In some cases, they are providing Trainning for adults Also, there are “tech-mediators” (non profit organizations) that provide access to a variety of digital tools Young farmers prefer management positions than field work.  Critical manpower problem Youth
  34. 34. THE HUMAN SIDE OF TOMATOES  ICT provide the oppor tuni ty to do farm work more visible.  Web.  Social media (Facebook, in particular).  For the first time, farmers can tel l their own history by themeselves  Socio-Tech spaces, channels for their voice  Consumers have access to the process, and the chance to get involved wi th the human history and social experience behind thei r dai ly products.  Farmers are discovering new marketing tools.  The narratives of farming are renewed.  Re-appreciation of rural environments  The key rol of farmers in daily living Narratives
  35. 35. THE HUMAN SIDE OF TOMATOES Seattle
  36. 36. THE HUMAN SIDE OF TOMATOES Walla-Walla
  37. 37. THE HUMAN SIDE OF TOMATOES Oakville
  38. 38. THE HUMAN SIDE OF TOMATOES Yakima
  39. 39. RURAL-URBAN HIBRIDITY  Tradi t ional approaches where ci t ies (moderni ty) and count ryside (stagnat ion) are completed isolated.  New generat ions are breaking wi th this point of view.  Impulse the conceptions of hibrid spaces  Contribute to the socio-territorial reconfigurations.  Rurbani ty: new (key) concept to understand some socio- ter ri torial changes in agr icul ture.  Youth mul t i t rajectories  They are in permanent movement.  They conceive the two spaces as complementary, than opposed  ICT providing spaces to connect the rurbanity  Mobile phones are the main tool of rurbanity Rural Urban Rural Urban
  40. 40. YOUNG FARMERS AND ICT Mapping the social and technological t raj e c to ri e s o f “ rurban” youth Thank you! Matias Ezequiel Centeno matiascto@gmail.com centeno.matias@inta.gob.ar www.inta.gob.ar/sanluis www.geninternet.com.ar

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