What is in this article?:
- Technology allowing farmers to keep pace with learning curve
- Opening the door
- More and more farmers are getting the chance to keep up with the learning curve without leaving the farm.
Back in 1980 when college student Pete Flores, who grew up on a Texas ranch, was introduced to his first computer at college, he decided one day the world would be a different place.
Garnering a couple of Bachelor degrees and a Masters in agricultural sciences and then serving as a county Extension agent in his young career, he moved on to become an Extension information specialist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service—a job he still holds today—serving 48 counties across much of South and South-central Texas.
“I’m not one for titles, and I’m not a geek. I just look at technology as a way to help the citizens of Texas,” says a humble Flores, who is still involved in a family farm and ranch operation.
But from the livestock barn to a seat behind his computer command center in his Corpus Christi Extension office, this cowboy makes the jump from wrangler to cyber-tech regularly as he applies his brand of agriculture technology to craft new and better ways of sharing class room knowledge and the latest trends in farming and ranching with producers who are keen on learning the latest in an ever-changing ag industry.
“It’s a changing industry as new methods are developed and new products introduced and Texas AgriLife has long been involved in getting this information out to the farming and ranching community,” Flores says.
But attending conferences and workshops is often a difficult and time consuming process, and most producers must carefully plan their lives around demanding work schedules, often leaving them short on time to participate in all the educational programs they might otherwise choose to attend.
“This is where technology comes in,” Flores says, and through hi-tech webinars, more and more producers are getting the chance to keep up with the learning curve without leaving the farm.
“Through special software we’re now able to conduct a workshop and turn it into an interactive training opportunity. Not only does this make it convenient for the producers, it helps us secure qualified speakers and conference leaders who can conduct the training session in their office, wherever that might be,” he adds.
For example, recently Flores was able to secure a qualified speaker who lives and works out of state for one of AgriLife’s workshops. With the magic of recording technology and through a series of PowerPoint slides, workshop participants at both the workshop and those unable to attend could watch and hear the topic presentation the same way they would if the speaker and the participant were in attendance in the same location.