Half of America's farms and ranches have Internet access and nearly 39% report using a computer for their farm business, according to new data released from the 2002 Census of Agriculture.
"These data illustrate the importance of the eGovernment initiatives being implemented by USDA," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "We are making more information available to farmers and ranchers through the Internet and helping to provide broadband access to rural communities. To date, this administration has provided over $253 million in broadband loans for rural areas."
Conducted every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census of agriculture attempts to reach every agricultural operator in America through a mail survey. Follow-ups by telephone or personal interview are conducted for those who do not respond by mail. Data represent all agricultural operations, defined as any place which sold or normally would have sold more than $1,000 worth of agricultural products during the census year.
Highlights of the Census include:
The average age of principal farm or ranch operators was 55.3-years-old compared to 54-years-old in 1997. But, for the first time, NASS collected information about more than one operator on the same farm. Results showed an average age of second operators at 49.4-years-old and third operators at 41.9-years-old.
The census of agriculture provides the only source of detailed, comprehensive agricultural facts for every county in America and gives facts on very specialized or small scale agriculture. For example:
Thousands of aggregated facts and figures can be accessed online from the NASS website at www.usda.gov/nass/ by clicking on "Census of Agriculture."