It is widely acknowledged that Australian farmers are poorly educated in terms of formal qualifications relative to their counterparts in other developed countries. While this does not stop them being good farmers and businessmen, it is thought that it is a barrier to the uptake of new technology and the resulting improvements in efficiency and profitability. Many successful farmers are aware of their need for further education, but their location and the low population density in rural Australia make it difficult for them to attend formal classes in the colleges and universities in the capital cities and major towns.
The Internet is changing the way people in rural areas interact with the rest of society, as distance loses its usual meaning in cyberspace. Each user becomes as close as any other, usually as close as his or her computer. Farmers are quickly taking advantage of this, and have the highest usage rate of all businesses, with more than 50% of farmers online in some surveys. As more farms and related businesses go online, this proportion will continue to expand. As the Internet itself grows some 120% per year, we can expect to see the number of farmers using the Internet increase for some time yet.