Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Computer and Internet use high in the West

When a survey came out about the habits of farmers using the Internet, it was encouraging to see that Western states lead the way in using the computer more for business.

The Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report has found U.S. farmers using computers for business has increased from 20 percent in 1997 to 35 percent this year.

In the Western states — Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — saw the percentage increase from 30 to 44 percent during that time.

As for using the Internet, while nationally it from 13 to 55 percent during that same time period, in the West it grow from 19 to 63 percent: Oregon has 70 percent Internet access, Washington 71 percent, Idaho has 68 percent and California 54 percent.

The Western states also showed how they used the Internet to purchase agricultural inputs or to conduct other agricultural marketing activities over the Internet.

Here are the stats for the West:

Purchasing ag inputs by Internet:
CA: 15 percent
ID: 12
OR: 21
WA: 26
(Note: WA and OR were second and third highest in the country for doing this. U.S. average was only 11 percent.)

Conducting ag marketing activities over Internet:
CA: 11 percent
ID: 10
OR: 12
WA: 14
(Note: U.S. average was 10 percent)

While there was a lot of statistics in the survey, another one that is interesting is how people access the Internet. In the last two years, the number of people in the West who relied on dial-up Internet service fell from 69 percent to 47 percent, while DSL grew from 13 percent to 27 percent.

If you are a farmer or rancher, let us know how you use the Internet for your business. We’d be curious to know more about the people behind the statistics so we can serve you better. How do you buy those ag inputs over the Internet? Do you go directly to a seller or company’s Website? Do you search for the inputs on the Internet? Or do you use newspaper and magazine classifieds online to get what you need? How do you do your marketing activities, and what kind of things do you do?

You can use our comment forms to answer these questions, or e-mail me directly at — I look forward to hearing from you.

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