Farm Internet Use Continues to Grow

Cindy Zimmermancomputers, Internet, USDA

usda-farmer-computerA new USDA-NASS report shows that internet access on the farm continues to grow.

According to the Computer Usage and Ownership report, 70 percent of U.S. farms and ranches now have access to internet, up three percent from 2013.

DSL remains the most popular method for accessing internet, accounting for 30 percent of all farms and ranches with internet access. Despite remaining in the lead, however, the DSL access is down 5 percent, from the 35 percent of farms that used this method in 2013.

In contrast, wireless connection, which accounts for 29 percent, and satellite connection, which accounts for 21 percent 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 percent respectively.

According to the report, 43 percent of U.S. farms use computers for their business operations. Crop growers, at 47 percent, are more likely than livestock producers to use computers for business. In the livestock sector, 39 percent of producers use computers for business.

Some of the most popular internet uses on the farm include conducting business with a non-agricultural website and accessing federal government websites, 44% of respondents use it for both of those reasons. Farmers also report using the internet for purchasing agricultural inputs (19%) and marketing activities (16%).