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The mobile farmer: How to use technology as a farm management tool

Your Farm Business

July 27, 2012
By Tina LeBrun - South Central College , The Journal

As we all know, technology has become a vital component of the world we live in. Technology advancements have also carried through into the agriculture environment just as equally as other areas of our society. From auto steer in our tractors to sexed semen for cattle, technology has produced some pretty astonishing tools for farmers to take advantage of on their farm operations.

However, technology can sometimes be overwhelming to many people, regardless of age or experience. Let's focus on some practical ways digital media can contribute "right now" results while minimizing confusion and allowing the opportunity for farmers to become better farm managers.

First, determine what technology tools could make your management skills more efficient.

Article Photos

Tina LeBrun

What is your biggest hurdle in your day to day management? If you are a crop farmer maybe it is keeping up with the volatile grain markets or if you are a livestock producer maybe it is keeping up with increasing regulations. Regardless, there are several ways that technology can help keep you educated and up to date with the matters that affect your farm operation.

The biggest source for this case would be the use of a smartphone. Smartphones are an easy way to have access to everything you may need at the touch of a button. From email to internet apps, the smartphone can give you access to all of these tools. The adoption rate of smartphones is higher with farmers than it is with the general public. A Successful Farming magazine study says that 94 percent of US farmers are using smartphones. This fact should not be too alarming as the smartphone allows farmers to manage their farm operation from the tractor seat or inside the barn anytime. The only component required to use the smartphone technology is an email address. Once you have achieved that piece, you are at the cutting edge of information access.

Another source of technology available to farmers is the use of social media tools. Social media in agriculture is not only playing the role of influencing the general public on the reality of farming in the 20th century, while also keeping farmers up to date with current events that affect farm producers. Sources defined as social media include; Twitter, Flickr, You Tube, LinkedIn, Blogs, and Facebook. Farmers can not only learn about new crop/livestock production technology through social media sources, but also promote the agriculture industry by use of these sources. The immediate availability of knowledge at your fingertips is possible through social media. You not only can receive information to help educate you on important topics that affect your farm business, but even more important you can also produce information to help advocate farming and food production to the sometimes uniformed, general public. One tip to keep you from information overload is to find a good source of dialogue. There are many types of resources and sites online, use your peer advisors, friends, or family to help determine where the useful sites are. For example, You Tube has "how-to" videos that can demonstrate precision planter setup steps and Twitter can provide up to the minute reports on commodity markets and agricultural policy issues. These are just a few examples of the many available social media options.

Technology can be a challenge, but also an opportunity. The asset it can be to farmers through any of these means is limitless. Continually educating yourself with the latest information can offer a competitive advantage to any farm operator. Helen Keller once said the following quote; "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Keeping this message in mind when working with technology can only be an asset to anyone in business today - and farming is big business.

 
 

 

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