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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

 

"USDA Says Nearly Half Of All Farmers Have Internet"

"USDA Says Nearly Half Of All Farmers Have Internet"

"... A lot of them don't trust computers," said Mark Aitken, an Agriculture Department statistician. "I think there's still a lot of your smaller farms out there that basically do their bookkeeping in a shoe box under the bed."

"The survey, based on responses from 26,400 farms nationwide, found that 54 percent of all farms own or rent computers."

"Among them are Arleen Herring and her husband, Wayne. The Herrings farm 600 acres in Elsberry, Mo., where they grow wheat and raise 120 beef cattle and 1,500 hogs. They bought a computer in 1995, but didn't begin paying for Internet service until nearly two years ago. It changed their approach to farming, said Arleen Herring, 62. Rather than depend on the 12 o'clock local news or the radio, they surf the Web for market information."

"When he's got the wheat all in the bin, he starts watching the markets on the Internet, wants to know which direction it will go and when to sell," Herring said of her husband. "Farmers need every edge they can get."


It's interesting to compare Internet usage among farmers here to farmers in New Zealand, where technologically sophisticated farmers basically produce for highly competitive export markets, not local consumption. My sense is that Internet usage among farmers is more advanced there than in the U.S.

See these Community Broadband Networks archives for links to articles on New Zealand farmers, the Internet and the New Zealand government's push to make broadband more widely available to farmers:

June 10, 11

May 19


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