Farmers utilizing smartphone technology

Thursday, October 13, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE -- Farmers can receive time-sensitive information like market analysis and weather conditions instantly from Hoosier Ag Today using a smartphone application developed by a Purdue Research Park-based company.

LoadOut Technologies, LLC, founded by Purdue University alumnus Neil Mylet, has launched a Hoosier Ag Today app for the Android smartphone.

A version is being developed for other devices.

Gary Truitt, founder of Hoosier Ag Today, said farmers are adopting smartphone technology at a faster rate than the general population.

"Farmers are constantly on the go and they crave information. Hoosier Ag Today provides information through radio broadcasts and over the Internet," he said. "We felt it was a natural extension to push the information to smartphone technology."

Truitt said implementing the app into the work process was seamless because Hoosier Ag Today's information is produced in digital format including radio broadcasts, the Internet and e-newsletters.

"LoadOut Technologies created a platform that allows us to move this information into the app within a matter of seconds. We didn't need any special equipment or training to use it," he said. "Our market analyst can make real-time comments about what the markets are doing and why, type it in his office and send it directly to the Hoosier Ag Today app. Andy Eubank, our other farm broadcaster, produces a lot of the radio programs for the broadcast and the application from his studio in Lafayette."

Truitt said the app provides Hoosier Ag Today and Indiana farmers another outlet to gain access to time-sensitive, locally focused information. He said the app also allows for lengthier, more in-depth broadcasts to be delivered to farmers.

"We can send more information through the application than we can put on the radio due to time factors. It almost is a special radio program just for the app," he said. "Farmers could sit in their combines while bringing in their crops, punch a button on their smartphones and listen to a 10-minute broadcast of in-depth market info and farm news."

Mylet said LoadOut Technologies is looking to help other agriculture news organizations adapt the technology.

"Other regional news networks could easily adapt this application to leverage mobile technology and extend the value they offer -- localized news content -- to farmers," he said. "We are working with other news networks to do this with images, audio and video content."

Hoosier Ag Today provides radio programming to 45 stations in Indiana, produces a daily electronic newsletter and operates a multimedia website. The company was born out of a need to provide a voice for Indiana agriculture.

As agriculture in the Hoosier state began to change and grow in the early 21st Century, there was a void of information for and about the industry on the radio.

Veteran farm broadcaster Truitt had a desire to tell the story of the great economic promise and potential of Hoosier agriculture.

In 2006, he founded Hoosier Ag Today, a series of programs that focuses on the news and issues for and about Indiana agriculture.

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