Electronic tablet, smartphone training series targets farmers and ranchers

LUBBOCK — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct three workshops in February and March to introduce farmers and ranchers to electronic tablets and smartphones.Dr. Jackie Smith, AgriLife Extension economist at Lubbock, said the workshops, all with similar curriculums, have the common goal of teaching producers the basics of the comparatively new technologies.“Specifically, we want to help producers obtain market information and utilize various apps to make timely and profitable decisions on the go, whether they are in the field on a tractor, at the livestock auction or in their pickup truck,” Smith said. All the workshops last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.Dates and locations are:• Feb. 27, at the Perryton Expo Center, 402 Expo Drive in Perryton.• March 1, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center on U.S. Highway 87 North in San Angelo.• March 4, at the Texas Farm Bureau, 7420 Fish Pond Road in Waco.Smith said the workshops will be the beginning of the second year of a project to develop agricultural apps and teach farmers and ranchers to use those applications as well as existing apps.‘’The first year of the project included an emphasis on the development and use of crop apps,” Smith said. ‘’This year’s project will also include existing livestock apps as well as the development of more livestock-related apps by the AgriLife Extension team.”Smith said each participant will have access to an Apple iPad with apps selected by the instructors that have already been installed to illustrate what is available. The instructors will also demonstrate and discuss both Android and Microsoft tablets. Participants are welcome to bring their own tablet or smartphone. The instructors will also demonstrate crop apps they have developed and discuss planned livestock apps. Participants will be asked about possible apps that teaching team could develop.Individual registration for each workshop is $30, paid by check upon arrival. The fee covers a meal and course materials. For more information and to reserve a place at any of the workshops, RSVP to Viki Bartlett at 806-746-6101. Registration information is available at http://agrilife.org/southplainsprofit.