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Farming enters a new phase

COMPUTERS and the Internet are rapidly emerging as necessary farming equipment, and WA farmers are among the most eager to adopt the new technology.

Figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in June 2000, 58 per cent of Australian farms used computers and 34 per cent of these were linked to the Internet.

In WA the figures are significantly higher, with 68 per cent of all WA farmers using computers to run their business and 40 per cent also using the Internet.

These figures represent a 9 per cent increase in the number of farms using computers since March 1999. The number using the Internet has been far greater, however, a massive 22 per cent jump.

The statistics rank WA farmers as the quickest in the country to utilise the tech-nology.

“I would suggest WA farmers have always been quicker to take up new technologies and adapt to change,” Pastoralists and Graziers Association spoke-sman Edgar Richardson, said.

He also suggested there was a “younger breed” of farmers, trained at agricultural institutes such as Muresk, Harvey and Narr-ogin, who were educated in the capabilities and benefits of in-formation technology and encour-aged others to follow their lead.

WA Farmers Federation vice-president Frank Camarri said farmers were thirsty for knowledge on IT and ways it could improve their business.

“Earlier on WAFF, Cooper-ative Bulk Handling and the Grain Pool, in conjunction with Telstra and the Kondinin Group, got up an Internet training program that we took around

the State,” Mr Camarri said.

“That has developed into an ongoing program because there is demand for it.

“Farmers see the need to make use of the available technology.

“There is a greater and greater awareness of technology, and it is accelerating.”

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