When Agri-tech start-up Cropsafe wanted to gather feedback from farmers on their new app, they approached Field Mouse Research, a market research and recruitment agency based in Mid Wales.
Field Mouse is fast developing a reputation within the mostly London-centric market research industry for sourcing fantastic participants in rural areas for market research, many of whom have never taken part in research before. However, as well as recruiting participants, the Field Mouse team can also conduct the research – and this is often a flexible, cost-effective option for start-ups and small businesses.
CropSafe, founded in 2019 by young entrepreneurs John McElhone and Micheál McLaughlin from Northern Ireland, will soon be launching its first app. The CropSafe app simplifies the latest technologies to deliver weather insights to farms within seconds, helping farmers to decide, for example, when to harvest.
After a year in development, CropSafe was ready to test its beta product on some farmers. Field Mouse recruited 10 farmers, representing all different types of farming, from locations around the UK including Ross-shire, Powys, Cumbria, Devon and Limavady, who spent a couple of weeks trialling the CropSafe app. These farmers then took part in two online focus groups (five farmers in each group), moderated by a professional researcher from Field Mouse to share and discuss their feedback on the app.
CSO and co-founder of CropSafe Micheál McLaughlin sat in on the focus groups, which were held on Zoom, and he was delighted with the outputs of the research.
“The feedback has been really helpful,” Micheál said. “We’ve already made a few changes to the app as a result, and it was great to know that some of the farmers had actually made farming decisions based on information CropSafe provided.”
The participating farmers enjoyed their first research experience too. “It’s interesting to be part of something like this,” said Glenn, a dairy farmer in Powys. “I enjoyed chatting to farmers in other parts of the country – and the £100 is handy too!”
Field Mouse Research now needs lots more farmers to take part in several upcoming major research studies on behalf of its clients (all independent market research companies) and also directly for other Agri-techs.
Participants can typically expect to be paid £50-100 (sometimes more) for their time and contribution, which may simply involve a telephone interview with a professional researcher.