Fieldmouse co-founder Sarah Morris (second from left) with dairy farmers Ali, Glenn and Jess of Daiy Bank Dairy
Fieldmouse Research co-founder Sarah Morris (second from left) with farmers Ali, Glenn and Jess of Daisy Bank Dairy.

A new virtual platform has launched that enables farmers and farm workers to have their opinions heard – and get paid for them.

Opinion Harvester is an online community from rural research specialists FieldMouse Research, where farmers and farm workers can take paid online surveys at a time and place that suits them.

Since starting in 2018, FieldMouse has focused on finding people in rural areas to take part in paid market research, which often involves an in-depth telephone interview or focus group, both in-person and, increasingly, online. Participants need to be available at a specific time for this type of research.

This isn’t always great for busy farmers, especially during lambing or harvesting. But now FieldMouse, in partnership with digital solutions company Alligator, has launched Opinion Harvester.

FieldMouse director Sarah Morris said recent changes in technology had enabled this new approach.

“With traditional rural broadband limitations, we wouldn’t have been able to reach enough farmers in this way,” she added. “Now the technology is better, the rollout of 4G and 5G has further enhanced access, and the pandemic has brought more people online.”

Surveys on Opinion Harvester will often be about agricultural and rural issues, but research companies also want to know what a wide range of people think about other topics too – from food choices to politics or a new car brand.

Typically, farmers will get £10 for completing an online survey that takes around 10 minutes, and there’s no limit to the number of surveys available on Opinion Harvester that can be taken.

Many more farmers are tech-savvy than ever before, partly because of the rapid growth of agri-tech,” Mrs Morris, who co-founded Montgomery, Wales-based FieldMouse Research, said. “Most people are now happy to join an online focus group, so why not also do quick paid-for, online surveys, at a time that suits you?”

Any farmer or farm worker in the UK can join Opinion Harvester – and more than one member of each farming household can sign up.

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