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Computers change rapidly, yet the last survey on computer use in agriculture was in 1991. We surveyed Great Plains producers in 1995 and used logit analysis to characterize adopters and non-adopters. About 37% of these producers use computers which is consistent with the general population. We confirmed previous surveys emphasizing the importance of education, age/experience, and other farm characteristics on adoption. However, we also found that education and experience may no longer be a significant influence. Future research and education could focus on when and where computers are most needed, and therefore when adoption is most appropriate.
Many areas of the US recently endured a severe drought and management strategies to cope with the lack of forage production varied. A multi-period mathematical model is presented that estimates the outcomes of two common producer responses to changes in precipitation, partial liquidation and purchasing hay, given fluctuating cattle prices over a long term planning horizon. Results were further summarized with regression analysis and selected elasticities were calculated to reflect the sensitivity of outcomes to variability in precipitation and livestock prices. Although little impact was seen from utilizing additional hay as a strategy during drought, producers who follow this strategy are in a position to market more animals immediately post drought in general, resulting in better long run financial outcomes. Elasticity estimates suggest that profitability is more sensitive to variability in prices but that optimal choices of management strategies are more sensitive to variability in precipitation.
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