Old MacDonald had a . . . PC?

Farmers are jumping off their tractors and onto the Web, according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Local resellers and service providers have reason to celebrate, with the ABS's recent findings indicating continuing strong growth in computer use and Internet access in rural and regional Australia.

The ABS reported a 91 per cent increase in the number of farmers using the Internet over a 15-month period from June 2000.

Sixty per cent of these farms have an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5000 or more, which suggests the agricultural sector is paving the way for increased Internet usage in rural, regional and remote communities.

Australian farmers quickly cottoned on to how the new technologies, and in particular telecommunications, can improve their quality of life and business operations. Internet usage on farms across the country looks set to hit 50 per cent in the near future, while the use of computers on farms Australia-wide is already up to 58 per cent.

The Federal Government has allocated $1 billion to improve telecommunications in regional areas, which will further fuel the agricultural sector's uptake of enabling technologies.

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