"We actually went on computer in 1979. So, the computer's been a big part for a long time. And back then it was – I could code a month's worth of checks, and the computer would take about two hours to process it. So, there was lots of learning and lots of, you know, that kept me relatively busy by the time I was married… Back then, it was primarily just the books and the information, it was just logging of information. Now practically everything can be done online. I can do my FSA [Farm Service Agency] work online. I can do, you know, I can buy and sell and do puts and calls, and all that. Not that I do that because that's not – We're not into the futures [market] or buying and selling of puts and calls, and things like that. But everything, you know, you can order. You can [order] parts, parts that I have been told you cannot get. They're available, you just need to know where you can go and get them…
     "It gave you bargaining power, if you need it. You want to buy local. But if the best price isn't local, maybe you just let them know that the best price isn't local. A lot of times, that'll help. The paperwork has really decreased. You know, I could go back on the computer now and tell you what we bought chemicals 14 years ago. If I had an old enough computer I could go back to '79. Unfortunately the new computer won't run the old software. You know, yeah that it has changed it.

Heather Derr – Computers on the Farm


Other Excerpts from Heather Derr’s Interview:

Their "Moderate Size" Farm
Government Subsidies
Women on the Farm
Choosing to Farm
Raising Kids for Export
Drugs in Rural America
The Miracle of Growing Plants
"Roughing" Weeds
Farmers are Conservationists
Using GPS Tools
Her First Tractor