Fifty-five percent of U.S. farms report having Internet access in 2007, up from 51 percent in 2005, according to a USDA report on farm computer ownership and usage released this month.
Sixty-three percent of all U.S. farms have access to a computer, according to the report, compared to 59 percent in 2005. The proportion of U.S. farms owning or leasing a computer, at 59 percent, is up slightly from 55 percent in 2005. Farms using computers for their farm business increased 3 percentage points from 2005 to 35 percent in 2007.
High-speed Internet access methods, such as DSL, cable, satellite and wireless, have become much more available to Internet users in the farm sector since 2005. The proportion of operators using DSL doubled in 2007, at 27 percent, compared to 13 percent in 2005.
States with farms with the highest level of Internet access are Idaho, 83 percent, Wyoming, 82 percent, Oregon, 80 percent, and Montana and Washington, each with 75 percent.
Georgia farms have the lowest percent of Internet access at 46 percent, followed by Alabama, 48 percent, Kentucky, 50 percent, Mississippi, 51 percent, and Oklahoma, 55 percent.
Cable, satellite, and wireless were each reported as the primary access methods on 7 percent of U.S. farms with Internet access; with satellite and wireless methods both at virtually double their 2005 levels.
Dial-up was again the most common method of accessing the Internet, with nearly half (47 percent) of U.S. farms still using it, down from 69 percent in 2005.
Eighty percent of U.S. farms with gross income of $250,000 or more have access to a computer, 78 percent own or lease a computer, 66 percent are using a computer for their farm business and 75 percent have Internet access.
For farms with gross income between $100,000 and $249,999, 70 percent have access to a computer, 66 percent own or lease a computer, 51 percent are using a computer for their farm business, and 61 percent have Internet access.
For farms with gross income between $10,000 and $99,999, 62 percent reported having computer access, 57 percent own or lease a computer, 36 percent use a computer for their farm business, and 53 percent have Internet access.
For crop farms, 64 percent have computer access and 37 percent use a computer for their farm business, up 4 and 3 percentage points from 2005, respectively. Internet access for crop farms increased to 56 percent in 2007, compared to 52 percent in 2005.
For livestock farms, 62 percent have computer access and 55 percent have Internet access. The use of a computer for farm business has increased to 33 percent for livestock farms, up 3 points from 2005.