Today, it seems like everything we do involves technology and more specifically computers. There is no exception when looking at the agriculture industry. In fact, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service-Farm Computer Use report, Seventy-three percent of Wisconsin farms own or lease a computer. This is 1 percentage point higher than the overall U.S. percentage. Then seventy-seven percent of Wisconsin farms report at least having access to a computer which is unchanged from 2015.
The report also found that Wisconsin farms using computers for their farm business increased slightly to 49 percent, 2 percentage points above the national percentage, which also rose to reach 47 percent. When looking at the percentage of Wisconsin farmers that have access to internet it was found that Seventy-three percent have Internet access which is unchanged from 2015. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) remains the most common method of access, with 39 percent of farms in Wisconsin with access to the Internet utilizing DSL. This is up 5 percentage points from 2015. In 2017, USDA-NASS added two additional methods that farmers could select for accessing the Internet. Fiberoptic and mobile Internet service for a cell phone or other device are the two access methods added to the Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report. In Wisconsin, it was found that mobile Internet service was the second most common way to access the Internet and Fiber optic was used by only 6 percent of farms. The proportion of Wisconsin farms using satellite service did decreased 7 percentage points from 2015, falling to 15 percent
When looking at the US in general the report found that Fiber-optic was used by 8 percent of the farms, and mobile Internet service was used by 17 percent of US farms. However, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection continues to be the most common method of accessing the Internet, with 29 percent of the farms in the United States using it, down from 30 percent in 2015. A satellite connection, at 21 percent, remained steady from 2015. Then cable modem service is at 15 percent, up 3 percentage points from 2015. Dialup service is at 2 percent, which is down 1 percentage point from 2015. Lastly, Other or unknown is at 8 percent, up 3 percentage points from 2015.
When it comes to computer access nationally 73 percent of farms have some sort of access. Of those farmers having computer access, 72 percent, which is up 1 percent from 2015, own or lease a computer. Computer access by national sales class is 71 percent for sales class $1,000-$9,999; 70 percent for sales class $10,000-$99,999; 76 percent for sales class $100,000-$249,999; and 85 percent for sales class $250,000 or more. Computer usage for farm business is at 47 percent nationally, this is up 4 percentage points from 2015. This compares with usage by the four geographic regions: West (49 percent), North Central (50 percent), Northeast (48 percent), and the South (42 percent). Comparing computer usage by crop and livestock farms nationally, 52 percent of the crop producers use the computer for farm business, compared to 42 percent of the livestock producers. Lastly the report looked at the percentage of farmers that utilize a smart phone or tablet for farm business and 39 percent of farmers were found to utilize that technology for business. It will be interesting to see how these percentages change as technology continues to develop and integrate into the agriculture industry and world.
This information was collected and expressed by the USDA, National Agriculture Statistic Service – Farm Computer Use report. The report was distributed by the, USDA NASS Upper Midwest Regional Office, which serves Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.