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Nearly Half Of U.S. Farms Have Internet Access

by 5m Editor
19 August 2003, at 12:00am

US - A total of 48 percent of U.S. farms now have Internet access, compared to 43 percent with Internet access in 2001. Fifty-eight percent of farms have access to a computer in 2003, compared to the 2001 level of 55 percent.

Nearly Half Of U.S. Farms Have Internet Access - A total of 48 percent of U.S. farms now have Internet access, compared to 43 percent with Internet access in 2001. Fifty-eight percent of farms have access to a computer in 2003, compared to the 2001 level of 55 percent.

Fifty-four percent of all U.S. farms own or lease a computer, up from 50 percent in 2001. Farms using computers for their farm business increased from 29 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2003. It appears that computer usage, ownership and Internet access on farms have begun to level off.

In 2003, 82 percent of U.S. farms with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more have access to a computer, 79 percent own or lease a computer, 68 percent are using a computer for their farm business, and 72 percent have Internet access. For farms with sales and government payments between $100,000 and $249,999, the figures are: 70 percent have access to a computer, 66 percent own or lease a computer, 49 percent are using a computer for their farm business, and 54 percent have Internet access. For farms with sales and government payments between $10,000 and $99,999, there were 57 percent that reported having computer access, 52 percent own or lease a computer, 32 percent use a computer for their farm business, and 47 percent have Internet access.

In 2003, operators with access to the Internet were asked three additional questions on their specific uses of the Internet access. The additional Internet questions referred to: accessing Federal Government web sites other than USDA; conducting business with any USDA web site; and conducting business with any other Federal Government web site. Of the U.S. farms with Internet access, 11 percent used the Internet to access Federal Government web sites other than USDA, while 3 percent conducted business with any USDA web site and 5 percent conducted business with any other Federal Government web site. Finally, an additional question was asked regarding the use of toll-free customer service telephone numbers. At the U.S. level, 4 percent of the farms used a toll-free customer service number during the July 2002 through June 2003 period.

A new feature of this report compares computer usage by type of farm, shown on pages 8 and 9. For dairy farms with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more, 90 percent have computer access. Of the cotton farms with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more, 83 percent have computer access.

Farm Numbers: For those data users looking to equate these published percentages to actual farm counts, we have included a table showing "Number of Farms: by State and United States" from the February 2003 NASS publication "Farms and Land in Farms". This table is located on page 14. A farm is "any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year".

Survey Procedures: The June Agricultural Survey is conducted every year to provide estimates of farm numbers and land in farms, crop acres planted, grain in storage, livestock inventories, and land values. In 1997, 1999, 2001 and again in 2003, questions were added to the survey form that asked the operator about access and use of computers. The 2003 computer usage estimates are based on responses from over 26,400 agricultural operations and represent all sizes and types of farms. Coefficients of Variations (CVs) at the national level in 2003 were 1 percent or less; at the regional level, CVs ranged from 1 to 5 percent; and at the State level, CVs generally ranged from 3 to 30 percent.

Source: USDA NASS - 28th July 2003

5m Editor