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Farmers say they’re increasingly using the Internet to speed up their work flow, improve their farming techniques, market their crops, connect with customers and retailers, and fulfill a variety of regulatory requirements.

Within the past decade, the number of farms with an Internet connection has increased by nearly 20 percentage points, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month. More than half of America’s farms now have access to the Internet, with farmers in the West with the highest access.

Farmers still lag behind the general population - nearly 80 percent of Americans surf the Web at home - but the fact that Internet-enabled devices have become less expensive and more portable has fueled the increase.

More than 70 percent of farms with sales of $250,000 or more use the Internet for farm business.

From wire dispatches and staff reports