August 26, 2011

American Farms Embracing Technology at Ever Growing Rate


Whenever someone living in a big city is asked to describe a farm, the same picture is liable to be crafted. Cows, chickens, hogs and other farm animals are all running willy nilly while old fashioned equipment trundles across the landscape. That particular picture has long since been cast off in today’s farming community and new studies are underlining that modern farmers have indeed joined the 21st century. 

People who aren’t farmers tend to forget that farms really are just another type of small business. Most small businesses have to evolve with the times or fade away, and that’s no different when talking about farms trying to succeed. When talking about farms going high tech, there are two ways they are changing the most. Recent reports have shown that more farms are using mobile technologies than ever before. Another report released last week showed that as many as 62 percent of American farms have incorporated broadband Internet use into their business.

Another new report seems to underline that American farmers are relying on all kinds of high tech equipment these days. High tech equipment doesn’t mean they are getting higher end threshers. More US farmers are starting to integrate consumer electronic devices like the iPad and Netbooks in order to help run their day-to-day operations. Dan Errotabere, a farmer who owns a 3,500 acre plot near Fresno, California recently told the Associated Press that he doesn’t know what he would do if he couldn’t get jacked into the ’Net.

"The Internet is quicker, portable and more reliable than mail," Errotabere said, "you get a pulse for whatever is happening in real-time. It has revolutionized the ag business." Errotabere says he uses a laptop, a smartphone and recently acquired an iPad. Other farms use the Internet to actually sell and maintain their products. Turlock Fruit Company, another Fresno area farming company, uses different websites to purchase tools and sell the melons they produce. The company also says it will upload pictures of fruits when they come down with different forms of blight in order to get quicker diagnoses from experts thousands of miles away.

Of course not all farmers are using high tech tools. That 62 percent of farmers using broadband still falls short of the general population which has an 80 percent usage rate. Still, most young farmers realize they need to adapt or fade away.

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Edited by Rich Steeves