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More Farmers Using Internet

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BOZEMAN - More of the nation's farmers and ranchers have internet access today than they did in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA said 70 % percent of farms had internet access by 2012.

The Montana Farm Bureau Vice President of Governmental Affairs, John Youngberg, said that's because farmers need access to information quickly.

"It’s very important. I mean, they deal with big data, everything from seeding to fertilizing to harvest,” said Youngberg. “A lot of times they control that through the use of the internet.”

Youngberg said the number of farmers connected to the internet continues to grow, but work still needs to be done to improve the connection.

"The issue in Montana is probably the speed that they can get that,” said Youngberg. “When you start transferring large amounts of data, it takes a lot more broadband, a lot more bandwidth in order to do that. And a lot of places don't get that if they are getting it through satellite, of if they are getting it through dial up."

The Internet has also changed the speed in which farmers can diagnose problems in their fields.

Youngberg said it makes the whole process of fixing the issue a lot more efficient.

"It used to be you either made a phone call, you didn't have a lot of detail or you had to write letters."

The USDA said in 2007, only 57 percent of farms had online access nationwide.

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