Using low cost, low-bandwidth Internet conferencing to support farmer group operations and learning

  • Published: 27 Nov 2007

  • Author(s): McGregor, Jill, Group, Liebe

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The Liebe Group is a farming grower group based in remote Western Australia covering three shires – approximately one million hectares of agricultural land. Travel time and costs for farmers to meet with researchers and other growers is often a barrier to information uptake. The wide adoption of an Internet program, such as MS NetMeeting™, into a rural community enables farmers to access current research which can be shared with colleagues without leaving home, and means growers will spend less time away from their farming businesses.
This project aimed to increase the use of the technology within the district by introducing a number of local farmers to the benefits of MS NetMeetings™. The growers were set up with software and hardware and were given training and support during the course of this research. This resulted in the Liebe Group Finance Committee using NetMeeting to support its regular meetings instead of having to travel several hours to meet in person at the Liebe Group headquarters near Dalwalinew. Using NetMeeting allowed the group to meet via the Internet, sharing spreadsheets and the Liebe groups finance software in real-time, while using a regular conference phone call for voice.
The Liebe group staff reported confidence in conducting future regular NetMeetings and the research will facilitate other Liebe group operations to progressively benefit through use of Internet conferencing.