“Use of technology to improve production practices on the farm and to interact with consumers – our customers – continues to grow,” Hunnicutt said. “Having instant access to information and communication tools is the ‘new normal’ and that’s not going to change,” he said.
Nearly 80 percent of young farmers and ranchers surveyed said they regularly use mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets to communicate. That’s up from 66 percent last year.
Computers and the Internet remain vital tools for the nation’s young farmers and ranchers, with 92 percent surveyed reporting using a computer in their farming operation. Nearly all of those surveyed, 94 percent, have access to the Internet. High-speed Internet is used by 65 percent of those surveyed, with 22 percent relying on a satellite connection and just over 2 percent turning to dialup.
The survey also shows that America’s young farmers and ranchers are committed environmental caretakers, with 64 percent using conservation tillage to protect soil and reduce erosion on their farms.
AFBF President Bob Stallman said the annual YF&R survey underscores his belief that the future of U.S. agriculture is in good hands.
“The future looks bright for American agriculture and our nation as a whole, thanks to the commitment and solid knowledge base held by today’s young farmers and ranchers,” said Stallman.
The informal survey of young farmers and ranchers, ages 18-35, was conducted at AFBF’s 2013 YF&R Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., in February. The purpose of the YF&R program is to help younger members learn more about farming and ranching, network with other farmers and strengthen their leadership skills to assist in the growth of agriculture and Farm Bureau.