Ep 49: Rachel Hay on the role of women in agtech adoption

Dr. Rachel Hay is a social scientist at James Cook University who has uncovered some insights into agtech adoption through her work in behaviour change. 

Rachel‘s PhD focused on agtech adoption, highlighting the importance of grazier women in the use and adoption of agtech. She found that women play a vital role in unlocking the potential of agtech adoption on-farm. 

Though the research is now a bit dated (it was published in 2014), Rachel’s insights still hold true and may be helpful for agtech companies looking to understand the industry and develop marketing strategies that can cut through the noise. 

Here are a few tips from Rachel’s research to help agtech vendors to reach their target audience and drive adoption:

  • Build trust and meaningful relationships with your producers. Though it may seem like this has to take time, Rachel highlights that content is king and relationships can be built digitally as well as in person. 

  • Be approachable and be seen. AgTech companies need to get out to producer events and engage with their customers, not just sell. 

  • Widen your marketing net, as decision makers are not always male! In fact, her research shows that it’s often the females who are doing the research and driving product adoption, both on-farm and for the back office. 

  • Don’t tell farmers what they need, listen to what they want. This should go without saying, and yet it’s something that tech vendors and extension agents alike get wrong. 

Do you have a story of women driving agtech adoption? Are there other tips that you’ve learned for building trust with producers? We’d love to hear them! 

You can find Rachel, a boutique pig farmer when she’s not writing or researching, on social media here: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrRach4Research

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drrachelhay/

Facebook page: The Engagement of Women & Technology in Agriculture

To delve more into Rachel’s research, check out:


Technology adoption by rural women in Queensland, Australia: women driving technology from the homestead for the paddock

Key takeaways