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August 17, 2007   Email to Friend 

ALABAMA FARMERS JOIN HIGH-SPEED DSL TREND
Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
August 17, 2007

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- High-speed Internet access methods, such as DSL, cable, satellite, and wireless, have become much more available to Internet users in the farm sector since 2005, according to new data released by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

However, in Alabama, the news is mixed with 49 percent of farms reporting computer access in 2003 -- but only 48 percent in both 2005 and 2007. The percentage of Alabama farms that owned or leased computers rose from 44 percent in 2003 to 47 percent in both 2005 and 2007.

In 2003, 26 percent of Alabama farmers used computers for farm business, compared with 24 percent today. Internet access rose from 39 percent to 40 percent during that same period. Only 6 percent of Alabama farmers used the Internet to purchase agricultural inputs in 2003, as compared to 8 percent today.

Alabama farmers are also part of the nationwide trend toward high-speed Internet access. In 2005, 84 percent of the state's farmers used dial-up access; today, it's only 55 percent. High-speed DSL use has risen from 3 percent in 2005 to 23 percent today, and cable modem access has dropped from 12 percent in 2005 to 10 percent today.

Nationally, the proportion of operators using DSL doubled in 2007, at 27 percent, compared with the 2005 level of 13 percent. Cable, satellite, and wireless were each reported as the primary access methods on 7 percent of those U.S. farms with Internet access; with satellite and wireless methods both at virtually double their 2005 levels. Dialup was again the most common method of accessing the Internet, with nearly half (47 percent) of U.S. farms still using it, down from 69 percent in 2005.

A total of 55 percent of U.S. farms now have Internet access, compared with 51 percent in 2005. Sixty-three percent of farms have access to a computer in 2007, compared with the 2005 level of 59 percent. The proportion of U.S. farms owning or leasing a computer in 2007, at 59 percent, is up slightly from 55 percent in 2005. Farms using computers for their farm business increased 3 percentage points from 2005 to 35 percent in 2007.

In 2007, 80 percent of U.S. farms with sales and government payments of $250,000 or more have access to a computer, 78 percent own or lease a computer, 66 percent are using a computer for their farm business, and 75 percent have Internet access. For farms with sales and government payments between $100,000 and $249,999, the figures are: 70 percent have access to a computer, 66 percent own or lease a computer, 51 percent are using a computer for their farm business, and 61 percent have Internet access. For farms with sales and government payments between $10,000 and $99,999, 62 percent reported having computer access, 57 percent own or lease a computer, 36 percent use a computer for their farm business, and 53 percent have Internet access.

For crop farms, 64 percent have computer access and 37 percent use a computer for their farm business in 2007, up 4 and 3 percentage points from 2005, respectively. Internet access for crop farms has increased to 56 percent in 2007, compared to 52 percent in 2005. For livestock farms, 62 percent have computer access and 55 percent have Internet access. The use of a computer for farm business has increased to 33 percent for livestock farms, up 3 points from 2005.

For a complete report, visit http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/FarmComp/FarmComp-08-10-2007.txt.




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