WASHINGTON — Seventy percent of U.S. farms and ranches now have access to internet, a 3 percent growth from 2013, according to the Computer Usage and Ownership report, released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), remained the most popular method for accessing internet, accounting for 30 percent of all farms and ranches with internet access. Despite remaining in the lead, however, the DSL access is down 5 percent, from the 35 percent of farms that used this method in 2013.

In contrast, wireless connection, which accounts for 29 percent, and satellite connection, which accounts for 21 percent of the U.S. total, showed significant growth in the past two years. Share of farms using these two methods went up 5 and 4 percent respectively.

According to the report, 43 percent of U.S. farms use computers for their business operations. Crop growers, at 47 percent, are more likely than livestock producers to use computers for business. In the livestock sector, 39 percent of producers use computers for business.

Farmers’ and ranchers’ business computer uses include:

  • 44 percent – Conducting business with a non-agricultural website
  • 44 percent – Accessing federal government websites
  • 19 percent – Purchasing agricultural inputs
  • 16 percent – Marketing activities

Farmers in the Western states are most likely to use computers for business. In that region, 48 percent of all farms use computers for that purpose. Western region was closely followed by the North Central and Northeast states, where 46 and 45 percent of all farms followed this practice. Southern states have the lowest percentage in this category. In that region 36 percent of all farms use internet to conduct business.

The Computer Usage and Ownership report is published biennially and is available online at www.nass.usda.gov