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How can mobile work on your farm?

Jeff Caldwell 09/23/2011 @ 3:18pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Kelly Robertson remembers his old bag phone well. Always in the cab of his pickup, the simple phone was a "tool of convenience" on his Benton, Illinois, farm.

But, that phone didn't even have caller ID. It was simple. It had a single purpose.

Now, flash forward a couple decades. Robertson now has a state-of-the-art Android smartphone on which he can make and receive calls, keep up with email, use the web and manage farm data and records through applications.

"Today, as predicted then, your cell phone is now your do all computer, phone, text, email, Internet, phone book, Twitter, Facebook, weather radar, grain market ticker and a list of apps and downloads for whatever else you're into," Robertson says. "It is your way to stay connected to the world. You can literally do everything you need to do in your office on your phone while sitting in your vehicle  or café or wherever. You’re connected."

So, you're connected now. What are some of the specific ways these devices can streamline your farm business work? It starts before you even buy your new phone. When you're making that purchase decision, don't get too technical. Make your comfort level the initial top priority, says Neil Mylet, central Indiana farmer and founder of LoadOut Technologies, a high-tech ag startup company. 

 

Mylet says it's all about finding the device with which you're most comfortable and one that accomplishes everything you need. Right now, for example, though his company develops applications for the latest iPhone and Android platforms, Mylet says he uses an older Blackberry phone for his farm, as it meets his current data needs.

Once you've chosen the device that meets your needs, think about your workplace. The farm is not the kindest environment for electronics like smartphones, so don't overlook the importance of protecting that device.

"Most phones are not built to withstand the harsh environment of agriculture," Mylet says. "If you're making the transition to a smartphone, definitely invest in a good case. It's definitely worth the investment."

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