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A Look at the Numbers

Amanda Huber, Editor

Amanda Huber, Editor

Because I am an editor, it is likely no surprise that I am not a numbers person. Adding more than a few numbers together is a challenge, and subtraction always requires a calculator. It’s sad and funny all at the same time. Thank goodness there are plenty of numbers people around, and I can appreciate the love they have for crunching those numbers, even if I don’t fully understand it. The USDA has a whole department reserved for numbers people – The National Ag Statistics Service. While looking for the crop production report today, I came across an interesting report on Internet access on U.S. farms, which I thought I would share here.

USDA found that 70 percent of U.S. farms and ranches now have access to the Internet.

According to the report, 43 percent of U.S. farms use computers for their business operations. Crop growers, at 47 percent, are more likely than livestock producers to use computers for business. In the livestock sector, 39 percent of producers use computers for business.

Farmers’ and ranchers’ business computer uses include:

44% – Conducting business with a non-agricultural website

44% – Accessing federal government websites

19% – Purchasing agricultural inputs

16% – Marketing activities

While I am a little offended that “Reading Agricultural Production News And Magazines” was not offered as an option for using the computer, producers of ag pubs know that this is something many of you do. That’s why all of the One Grower publications now have an e-newsletter sent monthly and offer digital versions of the magazines on our websites. The CornSouth e-newsletter is emailed on the first Thursday of the month and the website is www.cornsouth.com.

These digital products are growing because that’s how many producers are getting their news. If you like the old fashioned way, with actual paper in your hand, don’t worry – that version isn’t going away anytime soon.

As for why I originally started poking around the USDA NASS website, I wanted to see the latest Crop Production Report. This report says that U.S. growers are forecast to produce 13.7 billion bushels of corn this year, which would be the third largest production on record. Across the United States, growers planted 88.9 million acres to corn, and nearly 70 percent was reported to be in good or excellent condition.

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