I know you probably get tired of hearing me talk about farmers and the internet but I think there’s a lot of ag communications folks out there who just aren’t “getting it” yet. In fact, I dare say there’s almost a resistance to using new internet technologies to reach farmers and the ag community. Part of it is a lack of knowledge by the people doing the agrimarketing! That’s why professional development opportunities like NAMA Boot Camp are so important. But I would encourage all agrimarketers to go to other types of professional development opportunities as well.
U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, was in an appointing mood this week. He made quite a few appointments. I’m just posting the new ones. You’ll have to visit their website to find the re-appointments.
It’s really official that 51 percent of U S farms have internet access now! That’s up 3 percent from 2003. The percentage of increase is smaller than in past surveys showing some levelling off in farms obtaining internet access. This makes some sense when you consider that the average age of a farmer continues to move upward. I can’t see the number declining though and at 51 percent that means that almost 1.1 million farms are online! That’s a significant number.
The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association is attempting to get some major feedback from an industry wide survey. Association executive director Charlie Touchette says in his letter “The farm direct marketing and agritourism industry is perhaps the fastest growing sector related to agriculture today. Some of you have been on the cutting edge of this farm and ranch survival strategy for decades. Some are just entering this realm of diversification, and some new entry farmers and ranchers consider it to be the only feasible way to enter into agriculture at all.”
Agroterrorism is a hot topic right now. Aon Corporation looks like they not only have a handle on the issue but are being very proactive in helping create public dialogue.
I don’t know if this provides some opportunity for a U-S business but according to the latest FAO release there’s a real shortage of quality seed in Iraq. Perhaps some of our companies here could help out? Anyone know of this already being done?
The National Agricultural Statistics Service just released their newest Farm Computer Usage report but don’t start using it just yet. It’s being re-released next week! I wondered why I couldn’t find it on their website and here’s what it says – “The Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report released on July 29, 2005 by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be reissued on August 12, 2005 due to corrections in the data.’
Okay. Since you’re going to hear about this from everybody you may as well hear it here too. The House passed CAFTA-DR last night. Vote was 217-215. Does that not tell you how divided people are on this issue? Most ag groups seem to be for it so you’ll see and hear a lot of “congratulations” stories from them. Not all in ag are happy though and certainly not all politicians. For example, take the House Democrat Ag Committee. Here’s an excerpt from Collin Peterson: “Tonight’s House vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, was a tragedy for American agriculture and rural communities.”