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Oregon farms remain a national leader in computer use

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A new survey shows that Oregon farmers and ranchers lead the nation in having internet access and are near the top in other categories of computer usage:

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Audio 01
Results of a new survey confirm that computers are just as important to most Oregon ag producers as the tractor or any other common type of equipment:

POLAND: "Oregon is a pretty progressive state and I think we see people using a tool that is very advantageous for them to use on a daily basis. The internet and access to the internet gives them that ability to do their business more efficiently and effectively." :15

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Steve Poland is information systems manager for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The national survey shows that more than 80 percent of all Oregon farmers and ranchers own or lease a computer, and have access to the internet. Those are real high marks, well above the national average, and best in the nation. The survey also asked farmers to identify how they are accessing the internet:

POLAND: "From the survey, people are hooking up wirelessly. Before, they were in remote areas where they couldn't get any type of connection. The best connection they had was dial-up. Now, we have wireless connections that give them respectable speeds and dial-ups are becoming a thing of the past." :16

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Oregon is tied for second in farm operators who use the internet to purchase agricultural inputs and tied for fourth in those who use the internet to conduct marketing activities. All in all, Oregon agriculture remains at the front of the line when it comes to embracing the use of the computer as part of a successful operation. In Salem, I'm Bruce Pokarney.

Additional audio: Audio 03
POLAND says one area the survey does not touch is the use of social media by farmers and ranchers- something he believes is growing tremendously among Oregon's farmers and ranchers:

"Well, there are a lot of social media techniques out there today that they could use- Facebook, Twitter, all the social media. That's ever changing, but those tools are probably out there that could help them do their job better." :12

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POLAND says its unclear if the survey captures all so-called computer usage or is confined to the use by farmers of traditional computers:

"We're seeing people getting away from using a laptop to using an ipad or some type of tablet device instead of using the traditional laptops or the traditional computers." :12

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