A higher number of farmers than ever are using the internet to run their farms. In a report released by the Department of Agriculture revealed that more than half of U.S. farms are now using tablets, laptops and smart phones to get online and conduct business. While farmers may still be behind urban areas in terms of internet access, it was suspected that rural online access will increase the more portable and cheap that hand-held and other devices become. The internet has become a crucial part of the farming business. It has also proven to be infinitely more efficient and convenient than more traditional communication via snail mail. Farmers are also using the internet to get help from researchers at distant universities with diseases that can sometimes strike crops and livestock.