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Abstract

Farmers are continuing to expand their use of computers. This article reports analyses for a 2003 random sample of Ohio, USA farmers. Computer adoption by Ohio farmers currently stands at 44 percent, up from 32 percent in 1991. Financial accounting remains the most often used task of farm computers, with 89 percent of farmers reporting such usage. However, the use of the Internet for communication, for transactions processing, or for information retrieval more broadly, is an application that was largely unavailable in 1991, and which is now used by about 80 percent of the farmers sampled. A binomial Probit model was formulated to determine those farm and farmer characteristics that influence farmers' decisions to adopt an office computer. Likelihood of computer adoption was found to increase with increased farm size (annual sales) and higher operator education. Younger farmers were significantly more like to adopt the computer. Adoption percent was higher on farms that were more reliant on leased land, and was lower for livestock farmers. Farmers who worked year-around away from the farm were more likely to adopt a computer for the farm business. A second binomial Probit model was formulated to identify those farmer characteristics associated with higher manager evaluations of the computer as a management tool. Likelihood of above average computer usefulness evaluations rose with increased farm annual gross sales, diminished with increased age of the operator, and were higher for farmers who used the computer for financial or production recordkeeping or who gathered information from the Internet.

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