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Archive for January, 2011

Calling All Farmers: Do You Use a Smartphone?

I use my smartphone to check my work and personal emails, my bank account balance, Facebook, the weather and use it as a GPS. I can even keep a recipe box, a to-do list, check the scores of my favorite sports teams and learn guitar chords – all on one device that also makes phone calls. Its actually hard to find something that you can’t do on your smartphone these days- even for farmers!

More and more farmers, growers, and producers will pickup a smartphone as they trade in their old phones. How would a grower use a smartphone application, or ‘app’ as they are called? Immediate uses include general information tools, like weather, news, or finance. Many of the smartphones ship with these types of applications pre-installed. Other uses include specialized seed and soil calculators, ag news, and subscription ag management tools.

Here are a set of links to specific agriculture applications:

* Agriculture Crowdsourcing: These sample apps use the smartphone and crowdsourcing to bring data from the field into a lab database.
* Agriculture Management Information Apps: These types of applications are mostly mobile extensions of a farm or operation management system.
* Agriculture Calculator Apps: These are a sample of some of smartphone tools to help make in field calculations without having to head back to the home office.
* Agriculture Information Resource Apps: These types of apps are primarily used as a lookup tool, either to help identify species, review a piece of regulation, or get the specifics on an issue.
* Agriculture News Apps: These are a sample of agri-media focused news aggregators.
* Weather Apps: These are a sample of smartphone weather applications.”

Source: Agriculture Answering the Call of Smartphones | This Week In Ag

How many of you use smart phones? What do you use them for? Come vote in our poll to tell us what kind of mobile phone you use.

Picture compliments of Steve Tucker, who blogs at http://thetractorcab.wordpress.com, many times from his smartphone.

Kayla’s Farm Life Lesson #1: Good Equipment

In case you have only recently joined us, let me introduce you to AGCO’s Blog Contest winner: Kayla Ferris. Her “farm life lessons” resonated with so many people and since her blog entry was so popular, we asked her to guest blog for us occasionally.  Kayla and her husband found the AGCO Blog while searching for information on a Sunflower soil finisher. Her next lesson is maybe something that a lot of you have experienced as well.

Farm Life Lesson 1: Good Equipment is worth the extra mile

It was how I found the AGCO blog in the first place.  My husband had been searching for a Sunflower soil finisher (a product of AGCO) for months.  Maybe even a couple of years.  It appeared finding a used one which someone was willing to sale was quite a challenge.
That is, until last week.  Farmer Husband finally found the Sunflower soil finisher for which he had been searching.  The only problem was it was 5 states away.  And when you live in Texas, 5 states in any direction is a long ways.  So the boys talked it over.  I can tell you two things.
#1. We are the proud owners of a Sunflower soil finisher.
#2. 1500 miles, 750 of them pulling a wide, heavy load, and only driving 40 mph, covering the back roads of 5 states and 500 gas stations (or something close to that!)… makes for a VERY long trip.
Apparently good equipment is worth the extra mile.

Who out there thinks they have traveled the furthest to pick up their beloved AGCO equipment?

Helping to Keep Farmers Safe

Todd Howatt, Senior Project Engineer, Product Safety and Compliance at AGCO, has been appointed to the Technical and Safety Council (TSC) of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the North American-based international trade group representing the off-road equipment manufacturing industry. Mr Howatt replaces Ed Swenson, Director of Engineering at AGCO’s Hesston facility, as AGCO’s voting representative to the Technical and Safety Council.

Ed Swenson served two years as TSC Chairman. During his chairmanship the TSC has provided an increased focus of safety with specific seminars on key topics relative to member products and standards. In addition, Swenson has provided leadership in driving the adoption of global ISO standards and the funding of standards development work through AEM.

Todd Howatt, who is responsible for AGCO’s safety and homologation compliance at AGCO’s Jackson facility, will continue the mission of the TSC to ensure early recognition of merging issues and seek their satisfactory resolution; to provide an industry forum for the exchange of technical information, provide encouragement and assistance to product groups and other AEM groups that conduct technical activities and programs; to encourage the establishment of programs aimed at minimizing accidents involving members’ products; and to advise the AEM Board of Directors on technical matters.

AEM, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices in the capitals of Washington, D.C., Ottawa, Beijing and a European presence in Brussels, represents more than 800 companies in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors.

AGCO is committed to agriculture equipment safety and is an active member in AEM. Congratulations, Todd on your appointment!

Do you have ideas how to use technology to help keep yourself and your family safe on your farm? 

Farmers Provide Fresh Milk to Haiti Schools

Providing to a community in need is nothing new to farmers. It has been a year already since the horrible earthquake in Haiti left millions homeless and hungry. The World Food Program has launched a pilot project where local farmers supply milk to schools in their area to help the farmers gain a foothold on their local market while they are providing much needed nutrition to the children. One of those farmers is Jean Claude Belizaire in Port-au-Prince.

In addition to the milk from his own herd, Jean Claude collects the milk from neighboring farms and brings it in plastic containers to the local dairy at Bon Repos. This is one of 13 dairies that belong to Haiti’s Lèt Agogo co-operative of small producers. Farmers receive 75 gourdes (around $2.00) per gallon.

“This is a great way for small producers like me to do business,” says Jean Claude who gets paid extra for being a collector. “It’s been a very hard year but at least dairy farmers around here have a secure market for their milk.”

Milk is an important staple of the Haitian diet but many Haitians have no choice but to buy expensive imported varieties – or go without. With an estimated half a million cows in Haiti, there is huge scope for increased domestic production and it is farmers like Jean Claude Belizaire who are showing the way.” Source: Pilot Project Puts Fresh Milk On School Meals Menu | World Food Program USA

Who are some farmers in your area that have done a good job providing to people in times of need?

*Photo courtesy World Food Program

Bigger, Better AG CONNECT Expo 2011 is a Wrap

AG CONNECT Expo 2011 was a great show and we thank you to all who came out to Atlanta- we hope you got back home safely before the snow and ice crippled the city!  Data from the show’s website says:

+ Over 12,000 attendees from over 60 countries visited AG CONNECT Expo and the co-located American Farm Bureau Federation

+ 382 exhibitors spanning 174,500 net square feet of exhibit space, including the AFBF Tradeshow Pavilion

+ Quality education presented by industry experts in over 39 sessions

The AGCO booth was an interactive experience where you could learn about the latest in Advanced Technology Solutions, AGCO SISU POWER Engines and e3 technology. If you missed the show, there is no need to worry! You can view photos from AG CONNECT on our Facebook page and see videos on our YouTube channel. Check out the video below from the AGCO Advanced Technology Solutions booth at AG CONNECT. The next AG CONNECT Expo is scheduled for January 2013 in Orlando.

Were you at the show? What did you think about AG CONNECT Expo 2011?