The USDA agency said its estimates are based on responses from over 26,400 agricultural operations and represent all sizes and types of farms. Questions on computer ownership, access, and use were included on the 2003 June Agricultural Survey, which primarily covers crop and livestock estimates.

The report said 54 percent of all U.S. farms own or lease a computer, up from 50 percent in 2001. Farm operators using computers for their farm business increased from 29 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2003.

When you look at larger farms, the numbers move sharply higher. On farms with over $250,000 in annual sales, 82 percent have access to a computer, 79 percent own or lease a computer, 68 percent use a computer for farm business, and 72 percent have Internet access.

Although over half of all farms with annual sales of less than $250,000 reported access to computers, 46 percent have access to the Internet, but less than 30 percent use computers for farm business.

Eight percent of U.S. farms use the Internet to purchase agricultural inputs, and 8 percent also use it to conduct agricultural marketing activities, according to the report. Six percent use the Internet to access NASS reports, while 11 percent use the Internet to access other USDA reports and research information.

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