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High-tech farms give voice to rural women

Technology has assisted rural women to become more active in the running of a farm and to expand their business.
High-tech farms give voice to rural women

A James Cook University (JCU) researcher has found technology devices like smart phones, remote cameras and drones now allow rural women to become more actively involved and to have more say in the running of farms.

JCU PhD student Rachel Hay said the use of digital technology in rural areas highlights a shift away from men as the sole decision makers in business, and more towards women playing a larger role in farming diversification.

"As the use of rural digital technology increases, my research anticipates that women will play a larger role in the management of these technologies," Hay said.

"Saving time by using technology means women are able to spend more time with their partner in the paddock, reducing isolation and increasing well-being."

Hay said her current research builds on her previous studies, and will aim to discover the benefits to rural women and families who use technology to monitor cattle, pastures, and bore levels from their homestead.

"Adopting technology adds value to the business in terms of profit, and in terms of partnerships," she said.

"The expected outcomes of the research will help to identify gaps in training, gaps in information sharing, and recognise the importance of the role of women in making decisions on the farm."

Queensland’s 2015 Rural Woman of the Year Sherrill Stivano said technology has assisted both rural based women and men to become more active in the running of a farm and to expand their business.

"Technology not only helps to remove the element of isolation, but it also allows us as farmers to research our stock, broaden our networks and share ideas and information with other farmers," Stivano said.

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