COMPUTER USE ON FARMS

According to a recent survey, computer use on farms seems to leveling out after more than a decade of sharp increases in computer usage. The survey showed that in 2005 approximately 58% of all farms in the U.S. had computer access, exactly the same percentage as the last survey that was conducted in 2003. 51% of all farms now have Internet access on the farm, compared to 48% in 2003. 31% of the farms use a computer in their farm business management, which is up only 1% from two years earlier. Interestingly, computer usage on the farm is slightly higher with crop producers than with livestock producers. Based on the survey, there is greater computer usage by the segment of larger farm operators, those with gross sales of $250,000 or more. 79% of this group has computer access, 72 percent have Internet access, and 66% are using computers in their farm business management. In 2005, 12% of farmers indicated that they access federal government Web sites other than USDA, and 4% have conducted USDA business via the Internet.

Editors note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.