Goal is to improve bottom line of farmers, ranchers
CORPUS CHRISTI — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will teach a series of workshops on agricultural apps for smartphones and tablets at several South Texas locations in late October.
The first will be held in Wilson County on Oct. 22, followed by workshops in Colorado County, Oct. 23; Refugio County, Oct. 24; and Matagorda County ,Oct. 25.
“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, Yates said.
“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 information on the content of the workshops, contact Yates or Smith at 806-746-6101.
For workshop location information, contact the county offices of AgriLife Extension at the following: Wilson County, 830-393-7357; Colorado County, 979-732-2082; Refugio County, 361-526-2825; and Matagorda County, 979-245-4100.