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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Computer and Internet Use by Great Plains Farmers


We use data from a 2001 survey of Great Plains farmers to explore the adoption, usage patterns, and perceived benefits of computers and the Internet. Our adoption results suggest that exposure to the technology through college, outside employment, friends, and family is ultimately more influential than farmer age and farm size. Notably, about half of those who use the Internet for farm-related business report zero economic benefits from it. Whether a farmer perceives that the Internet generates economic benefits depends primarily on how long the farmer has used the Internet for farm business and for what purposes.

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