2 April 2024

Farmer wants a date: Mia's new app is helping rural singles find love online

| Chris Roe
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farmer with her dog

Mia Ryan’s dating app is for farmers and those who are looking for one. Photo: Floyd Mallon Photography.

When you’re single in a small country town or you’re out on a farm, the dating pool can be pretty shallow.

After finding little success with love online, one young farmer decided to take matters into her own hands and launched an app to help regional Aussies find a match.

“I gave up on online dating very quickly,” explained 22-year-old entrepreneur Mia Ryan.

“I’m pretty passionate about agriculture and I’m out on the family farm working with horses and whatever else, so personally I struggled with dating in the bush.

“Back in the day, people would meet at the country balls and there was more of a social life in towns, but I think a lot of regional communities seem to be diminishing.”

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As she trawled through the leading dating apps, Mia found herself looking for clues that might indicate a rural connection.

“I didn’t really see any other farmers on there so I started swiping on people that were wearing a cap or they had some sort of working dog breed in their photo,” she laughed.

“I would get asked out to brunch, and I’d be like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I can’t just go for brunch!’.

“Any date that I went on, I found it was so awkward and there was just a real lack of understanding of the farming lifestyle.”

farmer with her horse

Howdy founder, 22-year-old Mia Ryan. Picture: Floyd Mallon Photography.

Sensing a gap in the market, Mia got to work designing her own platform specifically for regional Australia.

“Everyone I talked to seemed to have had some sort of dating faux pas or were feeling isolated, and that was a really big push for me to launch the app,” she said.

“I’ve worked with an app developer in Sydney and they have done the coding behind it, but otherwise I’ve fully designed everything.

“It’s been a mammoth mission and a lot of late nights, even after launching this month!”

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Howdy debuted on 1 March and has already seen more than 1600 singles sign up.

Howdy allows users to filter preferences by age, gender, sexual orientation, interests and location and begins by asking whether you are a farmer or if you’re looking for one.

“It’s been really interesting so far that around two-thirds of the people that have gone on there have been looking for a farmer,” Mia said, adding that unlike most apps, Howdy is attracting more women.

“The feedback that I’m getting is great. People are saying things like, ‘Every single person that I’ve matched with, I can actually see myself giving it a go’, which is pretty exciting.

“I think the difference is that everyone is going on there for a really genuine reason, because there’s nothing casual about a date when you live three hours away, right?”

The app itself is also geared towards making real connections rather than superficial ones.

“It’s not a left-to-right swiping like the other ones and instead you can scroll through and go back up, which means that you’re not making a decision just based on what someone looks like and what their job description is,” Mia explained.

“You can actually read their full profile and take your time and not make a rash decision.”

The radius is also pretty broad, covering the whole of Australia, but Mia explained that distance was likely always to be a factor farmers needed to overcome.

“Someone said to me, ‘How does that work, because a long-distance relationship is hard’, and I said, ‘I’d prefer to be in a long-distance relationship with someone that I love than to be with no-one at all’.”

Find out more or download the app via Howdy’s website.

Original Article published by Chris Roe on Region Riverina.

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