Farmers are Surfing the Web

The internet is a valuable tool in offices across the globe as well as on the farms and ranches in our agriculture based community.

NewsChannel 10's Tina Berasley tells us how its helping business people right here in the panhandle. 

The USDA says more than half of the farms across the country have computers with internet access, and it continues to grow.

Users are chatting with other farmers, researching new products, and finding out the going rate for what they grow, like Ray Schlabs.

"I use that to get instant access to the markets, its quicker, its easier, I can go home at night and keep up with what the markets are doing and look up market news, what's happening that type of thing so I can make a decision on whether or not I need to go ahead and market my crop or wait."

At West Texas A&M University's Extension Center, agents use the internet to e-mail valuable soil information to growers, about 600 of them a day.

Using the 18 area weather stations they can find out just how much water will be needed to grow any one of 6 popular crops, and e-mail it to growers in real time.

Dr. Leon New is an Agricultural Engineer with the Extension Center. He said "A lot of them are operating on their computers now, They keep records on the computers, they know how much water they apply through the computer so its all right there."

Within the next month many growers will need to use that information to decide what crops to grow this year...including Ray Schlabs. " (It's)really valuable! Probably increases profitability by 20%...its easier to access you can go a lot of different directions right at the end of your fingers instead of having to call to find this or find've got to get used to it, you've got to get adapted to it but I think once you learn you access a lot of information quicker."