Seventy percent of U.S. farms and ranches now have access to internet, up 3% from 2013, according to the "Computer Usage & Ownership" report, released Aug. 19 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The digital subscriber line (DSL) remained the most popular method for accessing internet, accounting for 30% of all farms and ranches with internet access. Despite remaining in the lead, however, DSL access is down 5%, from the 35% of farms that used this method in 2013.
In contrast, wireless connection, which accounts for 29%, and satellite connection, which accounts for 21% of the U.S. total, showed significant growth in the past two years. Share of farms using these two methods went up 5% and 4%, respectively.
According to the report, 43% of U.S. farms use computers for their business operations. Crop growers, at 47%, are more likely than livestock producers to use computers for business. In the livestock sector, 39% of producers use computers for business.
Farmers' and ranchers' business computer uses include:
* Conducting business with a non-agricultural website — 44%;
* 44% — Accessing federal government websites — 44%;
* 19% — Purchasing agricultural inputs — 19%, and
* 16% — Marketing activities — 16%.
Farmers in the western states are most likely to use computers for business. In that region, 48% of all farms use computers for that purpose. The western region was closely followed by the North Central and Northeast states, where 46% and 45% of all farms followed this practice. Southern states have the lowest percentage in this category. In that region 36% of all farms use internet to conduct business.
The "Computer Usage & Ownership" report is published biennially and is available online at www.nass.usda.gov.