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Farm computer usage continues to climb

Fri, Oct 14th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

A recent report by the Agricultural Statistic Board reports that a total of 62 percent of U.S. farms now have Internet access, compared with 59 percent in 2009. Sixty-five percent of farms have access to a computer in 2011, up one percentage point from 2009. The proportion of U.S. farms owning or leasing a computer in 2011, at 63 percent was up two percentage points from 2009. Farms using computers for their farm business remained virtually stable at 37 percent in 2011 compared to 36 percent in 2009.

In 2011, 84 percent of U.S. farms with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more have access to a computer, 83 percent own or lease a computer, 72 percent are using a computer for their farm business, and 82 percent have Internet access. In general, those categories of farms with sales of less than $250,000 in sales run about 20 percentage points lower.

For crop farms, 67 percent have computer access and 41 percent use a computer for their farm business in 2011. Internet access has increased to 64 percent in 2011. In 2011, a total of 63 percent of livestock farms have computer access and 61 percent have Internet access.

I know this is of interest to those of us in Extension, as we look at ways to better provide information and education to farmers. For me, one of the telling numbers was the 65 percent having computer access, but only 37 percent using them for the farm business. I also have talked to FSA Directors that face similar communication problems.

So, for those of you with Internet Access, the University of Minnesota Extension website is: http://www.extension.umn.edu; my e-mail address is tesme001@umn.edu; or if you prefer to contact me by phone the University of Minnesota Extension -Fillmore County Office is 507-765-3896; the University of Minnesota Extension -Houston County Office is 507-725-5807.

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