Precision Agriculture

Although 85% of U.S. farms have internet access, only 51% use broadband to access the internet, according to data released recently from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Researchers defined broadband to include DSL, cable modems and fiber broadband, and did not offer a breakdown into those three categories.

Three quarters of U.S. farms use cellular access to the internet, 25% use satellite and 2% use dial-up.

Sixty-nine percent of farms use a computer and 82% use a smartphone or tablet. Those numbers were up from 67% and 77%, respectively, in 2021.

USDA estimates that there are almost 2 million farms in the U.S. The report was based on a survey of 14,000 agricultural operations.

Precision Ag

Precision ag is catching on, but some states are embracing it a lot more than others.

One quarter of farms nationwide use precision agriculture, the researchers found.

In four states – all in the Midwest – the percentage of farms using precision agriculture exceeds 50%. In descending order, the states are North Dakota (57%), Nebraska (55%), South Dakota (53%) and Illinois (51%).

At the other end of the spectrum, only 8% of West Virginia farms use precision agriculture.

The USDA farm broadband report, titled Technology Use (Farm Computer Usage and Ownership) is released every two years. It will be interesting to see how the nation’s increased emphasis on rural broadband availability impacts the numbers in the 2025 report.

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