Farmers rely on new technology to prosper - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Farmers rely on new technology to prosper

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Agriculture and forestry contribute over $70 billion annually to Alabama's economy, and improvements in technology are helping it grow.

"Farmers are just like any other knowledge professional needing to know how to deal with lots of different forces, particularly massive amounts of information and technology," explains  Dr. Anne Adrian, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Specialist.

Over the years, farming has become all about data management. Not only collecting and managing pages of data, but also determining how all of it relates.

That is where the Alabama Cooperation Extension System steps in.

"The agronomic crops team has a group that is involved with testing and developing new technology that's being developed by companies. We do have specialists in this area, regional agents, trained in it and they hold training sessions for the producers all across the state," explains Extension Specialist, Dr. Dale Monks.

In order to get new information to the agricultural world, Extension has turned toward social media to gain closer relationships with farmers and consumers.

"They don't have time to go sift through all the information that's out there so they've asked us to find ways to push that information to them and that's through our websites, that's through e-mail, but primarily now it's going toward Twitter," says Monks.

With today's technological advances like auto-steering through satellites systems, operations can now be monitored closely.

Techniques are more efficient, taking less labor to run equipment, but it does takes 21st Century know-how to keep technology working.

"Farmers are great stewards of the community because they want to keep their land intact for their family in the future as well as being good stewards within the community so farmers have to balance short and long-term goals."

Monks and other Alabama Extension specialists launched their AU Crop Specialists Twitter account, @AlabamaCrops, and have over 100 followers. 

They are also tweeting with the hashtag #Alacrops to extend their reach to Twitter users with timely crop-related information.

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