FARMERS and farm advisors will get a chance to brush up on their IT skills, engage in social media and learn more about farm software and applications, at the BCG Grains Research Expo on July 4.
Agvocacy, a term meaning ‘advocating agriculture’, will be covered in the Expo.
Inside a purpose-designed technology hub at the Birchip P-12 School, a band of top-quality presenters and agricultural IT specialists will be on hand to deliver information about social media opportunities, farm software packages and apps; and to help farmers to get more from their IT tools.
First introduced in 2012, the ‘tech hub’ proved a popular attraction at the Expo with growers keen to find out how they can integrate new tools and technologies with their existing IT and data collection systems.
Horsham-based IT specialist Carl Sudholz will be among the presenters in the tech hub this year.
Mr Sudholz said there was a huge volume of interesting farm software available but it was important to distinguish between software that is interesting and software that is useful.
“The difference is that useful software makes you money, interesting does not,” he said.
During his presentation Mr Sudholz will give advice on what to look for in software that can increase the farms financial bottom line.
Farm apps will also feature in the tech hub with NSW farmer and consultant Richard Heath giving his take on what is available.
“Contrary to what a lot of people think, farmers are using smart phones and tablets just as much as any other industry,” he said.
Mr Heath, who reviews farm apps on his website www.farmingwithapps.com, will give growers tips on how to use smartphones and tablets productively on a farm and what apps are available to help them do this.
Social media marketing will be covered by AgChatOz co-founder Tom Whitty, DEPI communications specialist Pru Cook and Kaniva farmer and blog author Jonathan Dyer.
Agvocacy has been widely embraced by the Australian community. Ms Cook said an increasing number of farmers were now using social media to promote their businesses, sell their produce and advocate, or ‘agvocate’, for their industry.
Mr Whitty said farmers and rural communities have inspiring and engaging stories to share and social media is providing them with the platform to do this.
“Stories about innovation in technology, stories about leading the way in environmental land management and stories about their own unique life. For too long now there has been little medium to share these tales,” he said.
Mr Whitty said AgChatOZ, along with Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, was enabling rural and urban Australian's to educate, enlighten and learn from each other.
The BCG Grains Research Expo will be held at the Birchip P-12 School on July 4. For more information phone BCG on 03 5492 2787 or visit www.bcg.org.au or follow on Facebook or Twitter (#BCGExpo2013)