Contrary to the national trend, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says while 79 percent of Idaho farms own or lease computers, only 42 percent of producers in a recent survey reported using their computers for farm business, down from 50 percent in 2007.
The percentage of Idaho farms with Internet access remained stable at 68 percent, but more farmers are starting to buy products they need for their operations online. That percentage went from 10 to 18 percent in the two-year period. Eighteen percent purchased agricultural inputs online, and 15 percent conducted ag marketing activities online. The percentage of farmers doing web-based marketing also rose, from 11 percent to 15 percent.
Fifty-two percent reported conducting non-farm transactions online.
The report indicated more Idaho farmers are accessing USDA/NASS data online, with 22 percent accessing reports compared to 15 percent in 2007. Fifty-five percent of those with computers reported accessing government web sites.
The survey also indicated that dial-up is being phased out as a primary source of Internet access on farms, dropping from 42 percent to only 18 percent this year. Thirty-nine percent of producers in the survey reported having wired high-speed access (cable or DSL), and 43 percent have wireless access (Satellite, other wireless). This means 82 percent of Idaho farmers now have access to high-speed internet compared with only 58 percent two years ago.