USDA surveys to arrive in farmers’ mailboxes next week

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 7:54 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - 65% of Wisconsin farmers own or use a desktop or laptop computer in their operations. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report last week said the Wisconsin farmers’ computer use is 2 percent less than the number of computers used by farmers across the United States. Wisconsin farmers using smart phones in their business was at 67%, 10% less than the national average. About 82% of Wisconsin farms have Internet access, which is unchanged from 2019 and equal to the U.S. average. Cellular was the most common methods, in order of use, state farmers are using to access the Internet; broadband – DSL, cable and fiber optic – and satellite. 15% of Wisconsin farmers reported that they’re using technology such as global positioning systems in precision-agriculture programs, which is 10% fewer than the 25% national farmers who use GPS in precision agriculture.

Nationally, 82% of farms reported having access to the Internet, with 98% paying for access. In 2021, 29% of the nation’s farmers are using the Internet to purchase agricultural inputs – that’s an increase of 5% using the Internet for those purposes during 2019. Also, 21% used the Internet to market agricultural products.

Conservation Reserve Program lands are being opened for haying and grazing in some Wisconsin counties affected this year by drought conditions. Farmers who’ve been affected by drought this year must contact their local Farm Service Agency office before using hay or pasture from their land enrolled in the CRP. Most of the affected counties are in southern Wisconsin.

Operators of organic farms and handlers of organic products may apply for federal assistance with the cost of receiving or maintaining organic certification. Applications for the federal Organic Certification Cost Share Program are due Nov. 1. Information and applications are available through local Farm Services Agency offices.

USDA surveys will be arriving in farmers’ mailboxes starting Sept. 1 to request information about this year’s planting and harvesting of small grains. The information is used to determine needs for federal assistance programs. USDA officials say there will be no way for people to access farmers’ information through the surveys.

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