Now, 48% of U.S. farms have Internet access, compared to 43% in 2001. That's according to a new report by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Fifty-four percent of all U.S. farms own or lease a computer, up from 50% in 2001. Farm operators using computers for their farm business increased from 29% in 2001 to 30% in 2003.

A further breakdown shows Internet and computer access based on size of farm. Farms with more than $250,000 in annual sales show a higher percentage of computer usage. Of these farms, 82% have access to a computer, 79% own or lease a computer, 68% use a computer for farm business and 72% have Internet access.

Although more than half of all farms with annual sales of less than $250,000 reported access to computers, 46% have access to the Internet, but fewer than 30% use computers for farm business.

Eight percent of U.S. farms use the Internet to purchase agricultural inputs, and 8% also use it to conduct ag marketing activities.

Access the complete Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report online at www.usda.gov/nass or call 800-727-9540.