AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Today’s farmers are using new technology more than ever to help them with day-to-day tasks. In a physically demanding and rapidly developing industry, farmers lean on GPS, web information, online courses and timely answers to keep up with the moving economy.
Available at the touch of a finger, the Farming Basics app from Alabama Extension is a science- and research-based information gateway for small and beginning farmers. The app will serve as a pocket guide to help growers answer everyday questions in the field.
Ayanava Majumdar, an Alabama Extension specialist, has brought the Alabama Extension Beginning Farmer Program and online course to life with the help of industry partners.
“The Beginning Farmer Program is a statewide effort to support new farmers with emphasis on military veterans and underserved communities,” Majumdar said. “The Farming Basics app is going to change the way we interact with our growers.”
Majumdar said the app will allow producers to react to pest and disease situations promptly and with confidence.
Farming Basics App
The Farming Basics app includes information about major insect pests and diseases, horticultural crop descriptions and general management tactics. The app also features a fertilizer and irrigation calculator to assist beginning farmers save dollars on inputs. Other features of this app include crop and pest alerts, location services that include contact information for regional Extension agents and an activity calendar linking to upcoming meetings and field days.
The Farming Basics App is available where ever you download your apps.
Alabama Extension regional agent Neil Kelly helped develop the material for the app. Kelly believes it is a crucial tool in a producer’s toolbox now and for years to come.
“This is researched information at the farmer’s fingertips,” Kelly said. “It is a platform that we can continue to build on each year, improving and changing as needed.”
Jayme Oates, owner of Farmscape Solutions, agrees that this app is fully functional for farmers in the field.
“The app does a fantastic job connecting farmers with experts and expert information,” Oates said. “Accessible and easy to use, it’s a great tool for the farmer on the go.”
Karen Wynn of Rosita’s Farm said the app is a great tool for Southern growers needing quick answers out in the field.
“The pest and disease identification sections have already proven useful,” said Wynn, who is also a soil consultant. “I especially appreciate the management recommendations that focus on life cycles and cultural controls.”
About the Beginning Farmer Program
The Alabama Beginning Farmer Program has a wide array of resources for all types of farmers. The overall implementation plan involves collaboration with a wide range of institutions, producer groups and nonprofit organizations for supporting beginning farmers statewide.
Currently, the Beginning Farmer program provides intense on-farm guidance to more than 60 beginning farmers, including military veterans, women and socially disabled individuals.
The advisory service has an 85 percent adoption rate and has increased yields by improving crop quality and reducing insecticide use with pest prevention.