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Dairy computer, Internet numbers change little

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The percentage of dairy operations using computers hasn’t changed much in recent years, but more dairy producers are opting for cable and wireless Internet connections, according to a USDA every-other-year report, “Farm Computer Usage and Ownership.”

The 2013 survey found computer access, ownership, Internet access and computer use for dairy farm business has changed little from similar surveys dating all the way back to 2003. 

About 66% of U.S. dairies have computer access (Table 1), and 64% own or lease a computer. Dairies using computers for their farm business remained stable, at 50% in 2013, the same as in 2003. 

The numbers are higher for larger dairies. In 2013, 79% of U.S. dairies with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more have access to a computer, 81% own or lease a computer, 71% use a computer for their farm business, and 76% have Internet access. All are actually down slightly from 2011, according to USDA. 

While computers and use haven’t changed drastically, more dairy producers are seeking  faster Internet connections (Table 2). 

In 2003, dial-up was the primary means of Internet connection for 76% of dairy producers with Internet access. That’s fallen to just 7% in 2013. The 2013 surveyed showed 37% use a direct subscriber line (DSL), the largest percentage, but on the decline. Wireless (25%), satellite (15%) and cable (10%) connections have posted gains in the past two years.

 

Total farms

Among all farms, there have been only marginal increases in computer ownership and access to the Internet in recent years. About 67% of U.S. farms now have Internet access, compared with 62% in 2011. Seventy percent of farms have access to a computer in 2013, up 5% from 2011. The proportion of United States farms owning or leasing a computer in 2013, at 68%, was also up 5% from 2011. Farms using computers for their farm business increased to 40% in 2013, compared to 37% in 2011. 

DSL is still the most common method of accessing the Internet, used by 35% of U.S. farms, but that's down from 38% in 2011. Wireless access, while still second at 24%, is up from 20% in 2011. Dialup access dropped from 12% in 2011 to 5% in 2013. Cable and satellite access were each reported as the primary Internet access method on 13% and 17% of U.S. farms, respectively. 

In 2013, 84% of the farms in the United States with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more have access to a computer, 83% own or lease a computer, 72% are using a computer for their farm business, and 82% have Internet access. Of the farms with sales and government payments between $100,000 and $249,999, the figures are: 73% have access to a computer, 71% own or lease a computer, 56% are using a computer for their farm business, and 69% have Internet access. The farms with sales and government payments between $10,000 and $99,999, 68% reported having computer access, 66% own or lease a computer, 45% use a computer for their farm business, and 65% have Internet access. 

For crop farms, 71% have computer access and 45% use a computer for their farm business in 2013, both up 4% from 2011. Internet access for crop farms has increased to 68% in 2013, compared with 64% in 2011. In 2013, a total of 70% of livestock farms have computer access and 66% have Internet access. 

The June 2013 computer usage estimates are based on responses from more than 26,960 ag operations and represent all farm sizes and types. USDA defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the year. 

To see the report, visit http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/FarmComp/FarmComp-08-20-2013.pdf

 

 

 

 

The percentage of dairy operations using computers hasn’t changed much in recent years, but more dairy producers are opting for cable and wireless Internet connections, according to a USDA every-other-year report, “Farm Computer Usage and Ownership.”

 
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