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Float Mobile Learning reports on the rise of mobile technology in farming…

In 2012, the Morton-based technology firm Float Mobile Learning released a series of in-depth reports on the use of mobile technologies in the agriculture industry. Float, which works with major agricultural groups and even Fortune 500 companies, presented over 100 pages of information on the increased implementation of mobile devices, wireless machinery and more than 60 apps designed to facilitate faster, more efficient operations.

This trend, known as mobile agriculture or mAgriculture, actually started more than a decade ago in developing countries, where mobile devices are often the only means of communication available to farmers. Only in the last few years have North American producers done the same, but they’re making up for lost time by adopting mobile technologies—and most significantly, tablets. Recent studies show that mobile adoption by ag producers increased from around 10 percent in 2010 to 47 percent in 2012—a higher rate than that of the general public—and just last year, 83 percent of farmers were using computers in their work.

“Agriculture industry professionals can benefit from using mobile technology… because it offers a way to stay connected,” says Chad Udell, Float managing director. “Because of its ubiquitous nature, learning with smartphones and tablets may be the only way to get just-in-time information to these professionals when they are on the road or in the fields.” Indeed, many ag websites include grain market information, weather forecasts, news stories and Twitter feeds, supplying critical information that farmers can access anywhere, any time with mobile devices.

Having identified 60 ag-specific mobile apps in their reports, Float classified them into nine categories:

With a wealth of real-time data available at producers’ fingertips, mAgriculture means not only higher yields, healthier harvests and better profits—it’s also better for the environment and the consumer. iBi