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Although U.S. farmers already have several options for purchasing products and services online, e-business applications in Canada are still very much in the budding stage. Ipsos-Reid designed the E-Business in Agriculture research to provide stakeholders with key information about the emerging Canadian market.

Three waves of quantitative research, as well as a series of focus groups, were used in 2000 to provide Canadian agri-marketers with a comprehensive and representative knowledge base upon which to design e-commerce strategies. More than 1,400 farmers participated.

Results show the Internet has become an integral farm management tool for progressive farmers. Internet adoption among Canadian producers continues to grow. As of last fall, 45 percent of commercial producers had Internet access, compared with 38 percent in May 2000. The trend is being driven by younger, higher income, better educated farmers who rely on the Internet for key business information (see chart).

Much to the delight of struggling new agricultural dot-coms, Canadian farmers also are beginning to use the Internet as a shopping tool. They surf the Web in large numbers, looking for information about products they are planning to buy. A sizeable minority (10 percent of all farmers) also buys products and services directly online. Farm equipment and parts are the most common items these producers purchase online, followed by consumer products such as clothes, books and computer software.

Currently, Canadian farmers have fewer opportunities to engage in e-commerce than do their U.S. counterparts. New e-commerce Web sites that are set to launch this year will permit Canadian farmers to buy and sell more of their farm products online. Ipsos-Reid plans to continue tracking this emerging market, as well as expanding its E-Business research to capture the dynamics of e-commerce in all of North America. In 2001, the E-Business study will include producers across North America, providing comparative data for the relatively established U.S. market vs. the new Canadian arena.

For more information about E-Business in Agriculture research, contact Darcie Doan at

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