By 1986, microprocessors had diffused to about 18% of all US households and 6% of US farmers. In addition to general consumer uses, farm households in the US employ microcomputers for such small business applications as record keeping, word processing, and payroll handling. A special application of microprocessor technology took place in 1980-1981 when 200 Kentuckyfarmers participated in a trial of the Green Thumb Box, a videotext system providing market, weather, and technological information. The nature of the information needs of US farmers seems to fit well with the new information technologies built around the microprocessor, although little of this potential has yet been realized. Since the experiment, videotext has proved to have doubtful value as a channel for the distribution of agricultural information, leaving open the question of what might be the best technological vehicle for this audience. Two issues call for additional research: 1. the adoption and use of the new communication technologies, and 2. their social impacts on rural society.
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