What is in this article?:
- Hi-tech solutions for rural areas topic of special workshop series
- Examples of useful apps
- Next stop: Upper Coastal Bend
With the availability of new phone and device applications - better known as apps - booming across the industry, farmers and ranchers who have learned to embrace the new technology are saying it is as important to them as once was a hammer and screwdriver in the tool box of their pick up truck - and it can do a great deal more to help manage their operations.
Next stop: Upper Coastal Bend
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Colorado County will be conducting the special workshop in Columbus with the goal of training farmers and ranchers to use their iPhones and iPads to help make decisions to increase their profit margins.
The class is limited to the first 30 participants and will cost $30/person. Late registration will be $40/person. The registration fee will include proceedings, snacks, refreshments, and lunch during the program. Participants will get a chance to win an iPad to be given away at the end of workshop, to be held Wednesday, October 23, 2013 from 9:30am – 3:00pm at the Extension Office in Columbus (316 Spring Street).
Participants will learn to use their iPhones and iPads to make quick decisions in the field, on the tractor or in the pickup. Instructors will train producers to utilize these apps to more effectively manage risks in their business and improve the profitability of their business. They will learn to access market data to help them evaluate relevant pricing strategies.
"The goal is to teach farmers and ranchers to use their iPhones to make decisions to improve their bottom line, whether in the field, on the tractor or in the pickup,” said Jackie Smith, an AgriLife Extension economist in Lubbock and one of the workshop instructors.
The hands-on part of the workshop will be conducted on Apple iPads, but Microsoft and Android tablets will also be demonstrated during the class, Smith said.
Jay Yates, an AgriLife Extension program specialist in Lubbock who will also provide instruction, said the workshop will use a lab of 25 iPads to lead participants in hands-on sessions to better utilize some of the hundreds of agricultural apps available.
“We have been involved in a grant project to study the use of tablets and smartphones in agriculture to teach farmers and ranchers how to use the technology to become better decision makers,” he said.
Time will be spent to make sure all participants understand the basics of using an iPad and iPhone, but the majority of workshop time will be spent evaluating a wide range of agricultural apps, Yates said.
“Both of us have reviewed and/or used hundreds of apps in an effort to help farmers and ranchers quickly get to the apps that will help them the most,” Smith said. “We will discuss our favorite two or three apps in several different categories, including weather, record keeping, decision aids, livestock, agronomy, markets, precision ag, ag news and general utilities.”
The mobile device boom is putting cameras, touch screens, high-speed Internet and GPS in the hands of farmers and ranchers regardless of where they are, according to Yates.
“These basic capabilities of tablets and smartphones have paved the way for the development of thousands of useful apps, and we can expect their numbers to continue to increase as we move forward in time,” he said.
For more information and to register for this event please contact the Colorado County Extension Office at 979-732-2082. For other workshops around the state, ask your county agent or check the Texas Agrilife workshop schedule online.
More from Southwest Farm Press: