A new report titled, “Computer Usage and Ownership,” released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service on Aug. 19 revealed that 70 percent of American farms and ranches now have access to the Internet. The Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is currently the most popular type of connection, with 30 percent of respondents citing usage.
Just 67 percent of farms and ranches had an Internet connection back in 2013. Over the past two years, wireless and satellite connections have increased by 5 and 4 percent, respectively.
According to the most recent survey, these Internet connection methods account for 29 percent of farm and ranch Web access. About 43 percent of farmers and 47 percent of crop growers utilize computers for business operations. Other reasons for computer usage include accessing federal government sites (44 percent), purchasing agricultural inputs (19 percent) and marketing activities (16 percent).
In March 2015, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 23rd Annual Young Farmers and Ranchers survey found that 74 percent of farmers have high speed Internet. About 23 percent said they could go online with a satellite connection, and 19 percent claimed to have a farm blog or website. Nearly 74 percent said they use Facebook, which has helped them communicate with consumers.
“Use of social media platforms to interact with consumers – our customers – continues to grow and will help young farmers be successful,” said Jon Hegeman, AFBF’s national YF&R committee chairman. Additionally, connection to the Internet allows producers to take full advantage of precision agriculture technology.