This category contains 18 posts

Wordless Wednesday – Dairy Aerial

A few years ago a good friend took me flying and I forgot the aerial pictures I took were on my phone here is a  view from the south.

A southern view of our Central California Dairy Farm.

National Ag Day: Honored To Be Feeding A Growing World

Today is National Agriculture Day and we want to send thanks to everyone who supports Agriculture with the products you buy. It truly is an honor to be involved in a career that allows us to feed a growing world.

Thank You!

Here is a great Ag Day video from the folks at AdFarm:

National Cheese Lover’s Day

Deutsch: Blauschimmelkäse, "Lys bleu"...

Image via Wikipedia

Hey Cheese Lover’s today is your day so vote for up to 3 of your favorite cheeses below. Feel free to add any not here.

Today’s thought: Lifting the human spirit…

There’s nothing that lifts the human spirit more than making one feel like they matter for who they are…

…today I felt like I mattered when a simple blog post with a silly title was as popular as it was.

Thank you!

Cow Bling!


New calves showing off their bling!

On our farm we use eartags to give each animal an unique identifier that allows us to keep important health records for each animal. Here are a few pictures that show the tags up close.


This is used to apply the tags similar to how ears are pierced for earrings

The tags are applied in a similar fashion to earrings through a soft portion of the ear. Each tag is self contained and is clean and sterile.


Each tag has 2 parts this is the male part


Cow bling has a lot of information about the animal

The information of the tags includes our farm brand (starting at the very top of the biggest tag), next is the unique “840” number assigned to only this animal in the United States, followed by the unique number for our farm, in this case 2129. The small white tag has the same numbers and also id an EID tag that contains an RFID information. We currently do not utilize the RFID tag outside of visual use however are we will be implementing the electronic reading in the future to help with efficiency and to eliminate human error.

Curious about the camera, and showing the bling!

Nuggets of brilliance come unexpectedly…

Today’s thought: A mind is just like a book, when they are open learning happens, when closed they’re nearly useless. So let’s remember that in all we do to keep open minds because we may learn something because brilliant nuggets often show up when least expected.

Just a farmer… Just a person…

Today’s thought: Farmers are people too, we enjoy many of the same hobbies as other’s who walk this great earth. We farmers might be small in numbers however mighty in what we provide as nourishment to this world. Yes farmers are humans first and we are emotionally connected to being the best caretaker’s we can be for our great resources in this world.

Would Old MacDonald be a geek today?

Would Old MacDonald be a geek today?

Growing up, most of us sang the classic children’s song “Old McDonald had a farm.” Today’s average farmer is a far cry from what is portrayed by Old MacDonald in that timeless nursery rhyme. Today’s farmer still cares for the animals and soil like Old MacDonald however the way farmers go about that care has changed greatly. Today farmers are more likely to have a smartphone here and tablet there than they would have just a few years ago, a laptop in a tractor or a combine there is a reality too.

Farmers like many others can have a lot on our plates and some farmers even run 24/7 farms so we look for every advantage we can to multitask and manage our time better. At the same time, farmers, by nature, are caring people and technology has allowed us to effectively manage our operations while providing more time to spend with our families and to help our communities than before.

Farming, like many other professions, has ups and downs — weather can cause harvesting or planting issues, things break and prices go up and down. However what makes it all worth it is the time spent with our families and communities that brings us all back around. If through various technological advances we can become better fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbors and friends –it truly makes us better humans.

In the end I think Old MacDonald would be just as big of a geek as Steve Jobs because it would allow him to be a better human being while taking care of the farm too.

Maybe we should consider adding a verse like this:

Old McDonald had a Droid, e-i-e-i-o

And on that Droid he had farm tools, e-i-e-i-o

cow info here, crops info there

Here a cow, here a crop, everywhere a tech tool

Old McDonald had a Droid, e-i-e-i-o

Thanks to Janice Person for the help with the lyrics
Image is from Duck Duck Moose Design and the webpage for their Old MacDonald App 

Who threw sand in my food?

Lessons from the sandbox…

We don’t always get our way, or need to.

Relationships matter more than who wins.

Polite and respectful communication goes the distance.

If we each give a little we gain a lot.

As a farmer who is truly interested in the discussions going on about food I tend to run into a lot of conversations I label as “he said, she said convos”. We all know this kind of conversation where there are two distinct sides both trying to do what they can to “win” the discussion by convincing the other they are wrong and in the end the only thing accomplished is the chasm between the two sides grows into an immense canyon of finger-pointing and name calling. What I am looking for is truly a two-way open honest conversation where in the end the differences are merely an insignificant dip and both “sides” of the discussion understand the other. Personally I have had a long road to get where I am in conversational skills, I was one of those who tried the “shouting louder” theory in hopes I would drown out the opposition and all that was gained in the end was a lot of work for no reward. I firmly believe that because we have twice as many listening devices attached to our heads than speaking devices we should spend a bit more time listening than talking. Amazingly when we do listen more we can respond more effectively to the honest concerns and questions from others.

Just last week I had the pleasure of a food conversation I enjoyed. My seatmate on a flight to Chicago from San Francisco had a great discussion that lasted nearly the full length of the three and a half hour flight. The conversation started with my seatmate announcing she definitely was in tune personally with “The Omnivore’s Dilemma“. At first I had the thought “oh no here we go again” however decided lets see where it goes. We talked antibiotics, hormones, fast food, food portions and regulations, all fighting topics in many of today’s food conversations. However our conversation was different, it was heartfelt and honest, we both had similar yet different passions and in the end parted both better off having met the other.  I learned that she truly was passionate about food and how it comes to our plates however she also understands the farmers perspective of having to make a profit to survive. I understood her passion for healthy food and together we believe strongly in choice and that more often than not the healthy choices truly are not proliferate enough.

This week I have the privilege of heading to New York City for the first time in my life. My mission is to attend the NYC portion of the “Food Dialogues” being put together by the  US Farmers and Rancher’s Alliance. I am excited that there is something being done to allow for more open conversations in the discussions about food. Is it perfect? Probably not, and truly perfection is somewhat unattainable this early in the conversation. Have mistakes and miscues happened in the past? Yes however that milk was spilled a long time ago and I honestly think we really need to focus all of our energy on moving forward together and not moving backwards apart. So together let’s keep an open mind going in and have a great conversation about the food we eat and all the things that come up from fork to farm.

Disclaimer: I am attending the town hall on behalf of the Agchat Foundation in partnership with USFRA to report on the townhall live using Twitter. Follow my updates using the #FoodD hash tag.

Android down on the farm.

ACFC 11 Mobile Panel Notes

This is a followup post to the Mobile Use in Agriculture panel where I covered the Android platform at the recent Agvocacy 2.0 conference in Nashville hosted by the Agchat Foundation. The current devices I am using are a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a HTC EVO 4g phone from Sprint.

The main benefit of the Android platform is flexibility in service providers and handset manufacturers. There are android handsets that range from less than $100 (w/ contract) all the way up to the Tablets in the $5-600 range.

To maximize battery life:

  • Use wi-fi for internet were possible this eliminates constantly searching for a stronger data (3G/4G) signal
  • Use the Auto Brightness setting when in sunlight
  • If indoors or at night turn the screen brightness down as far as possible
  • Set the screen to shut off after 30 seconds or less
  • Turn GPS off when not in use
  • Use 4G only if necessary

Good apps for Android:


Lookout This is a good app to have because of the anti virus capabilities

Lookout help keep your phone safe

Protect your phone with award-winning security & antivirus from Lookout

Protect Your Phone. Get Lookout for FREE Antivirus, Phone Locator, Data Backup and


Android Utility

ZD Box utility app

ZD Box utility app

ZD Box This app is a great way to maximize the memory of older phones that have limited memory

ZDbox is an amazing and free all-in-one toolbox. It holds a collection of useful tools and has a nice and easy to use interface. With ZDbox you’re getting your mobile/cell phone under control, do easily some optimization and customize it to your needs. An essential tool which you will love!


Evernote I use Evernote for everything from parts lists to meeting notes, Evernote also has a great blog with tips and tricks.

Evernote turns your Android device into an extension of your brain.

Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve your productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.

Evernote is available for: Desktop: Mac, Windows and Web

Mobile: Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm WebOS, Windows Mobile

Tablet: Android, iPad

Web: Evernote for Web; Web Clippers for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer

Learn more: http://www.evernote.com/about/getting_started/

Repligo Reader I use this app to take notes right on meeting agendas & markup electronic documents

View and annotate Adobe® PDF files and attachments while on the go! RepliGo Reader is the first Android application to enable both viewing and annotating of PDF files. Review documents on the go by adding highlights, cross outs, underlines, sticky notes, arrows, lines, ovals, rectangles, freehand drawings and text boxes. Comments are stored as standard annotations in the original PDF file, just like Adobe® Acrobat®. RepliGo Reader integrates seamlessly with Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote and numerous other applications. It also makes a great eBook reader, with features like night mode and an intelligent reading view.

pFinance The only commodity future reporting app to include milk futures

pFinance a great app for commodities

pFinance is the only app I have found that includes Milk Futures

One app serves all your personal finance needs. Highlighted by Google, pFinance is your personal finance hub with the following great features:

• Stock with real-time, after-hour, pre-market quotes

• Technical charts

• Stock options and option portfolio

• Market overview with indexes, funds, ETF, etc.

• Financial news from major news sources

• Currency portfolio, converter and news

• Commodity futures

Commodity Prices

Stay up to date with the latest Commodity Spot Prices.

Dropbox A great place to store files and have them accessible anywhere there is an internet connection

Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your Android device, and even the Dropbox website! With the Dropbox app, you can take everything that matters to you on the go. Read your docs or flip through your albums when you’re out and about. Save photos or videos to your Dropbox and share them with friends in just a couple taps. Even if you accidentally leave your Android in a taxi, your stuff is always safe on Dropbox.

LogMeIn I use this to remotely access the computer that has the dairy records in the barn office

Access your computer from your Android, and never leave anything behind. If it’s on your computer, it’s in the palm of your hand. Directly control your Mac or PC, all your programs and all your files – like that important presentation for your boss or that application that only exists on your work computer – with a simple click. LogMeIn Ignition for Android lets you remotely access one or more computers anywhere, anytime. So you never have to worry about leaving anything behind. Be Productive

Jorte I’m just starting to use this & I’m very impressed so far

Jorte integrates well with Google Calendar

Google calendar with Jorte integration

Jorte is a personal organizer application designed to be practical.
Our objective was to create an app with the look and feel of real paper personal organizer with an appealing appearance and easy practical use.Jorte has a scheduler function and you can customize its style as you choose.Calendars are displayed in a monthly or weelky view the display will rotate automatically if you turn your device sideways.You can see in one glance the important schedules that are colored red and also the schedules that have already finished.According to your style, you can set the beginning day of the week, import public holidays events and add our own holidays events.When you manage a todo list, you can view important schedules in red or rearrange the order of items in the list.Schedule and todo data can be imported from or exported to a CSV file.Jorte can be controlled using Google Voice and interact with Google Maps.The app has many features such as synchronizing with Google calendar and supports a wide variety of widgets.Issue that synchronizing schedule information is not displayedThere is the issue that schedule is not displayed when users use Jorte with Google calendar Mode. This issue is not caused by deletion of schedule information, but by mal-function of synchronization function of Android OS and information is still left on Google Calendar.

Area & Distance 

Use your phones built in GPS to measure the area of a region. Turn this application on and walk or drive around a region to measure its area. The path length is measured as well.

Smart Tools (Tools come as individual downloads also) Great way to get those measurements!

You can measure the length, angle, distance, height, direction. Smart Tools is a toolbox of a collection of 1-4 series. It includes 4 Pro versions that have 14 tools.

In a word, All-in-One.

Part 1. Length, Angle, Slope : Smart Ruler & Protractor Pro

Part 2. Distance, Height, Width, Area : Smart Measure Pro

Part 3. Direction, Metal detector, GPS : Smart Compass Pro

Part 4. Sound level meter, Vibrometer : Sound Meter & Vibration Pro

Bubble Level I can’t remember the numerous of times it has been helpful to have a level in hand

A spirit level. Hold any of the phone’s four sides against an object to test it for level or plumb, or lay it down on a flat surface for a 360° level.- Calibrate- Show angle or inclination

– Sound effects

– Install on SD

– Orientation locking

– Roof pitch

Google Apps Google has so many good apps they are a must on any platform!

Collection of apps by Google including such popular things as Google Voice, Google Docs, Google Goggles and many more.

News Apps I use all three of these apps and still have not found a clear favorite each has a strength that is a weakness of the others.

News 360 (phones)

News360 for Android Phones aggregates more than 4000 different news sources around the web to bring you news stories in a concise and useful stream, along with photos and video covering the story. The semantic analysis technology behind News360 allows you to get background information and dossiers about all the companies, people and locations that make the news, and to personalize the news for your location, and create feeds based on your specific interests

News 360 (tablets)

News360 for Honeycomb tablets aggregates more than 5000 different news sources around the web to bring you news stories in a concise and useful stream. The semantic analysis technology behind News360 allows you to get background information and dossiers about all the companies, people and locations that make the news, and to personalize the news based on your specific interests.News360 can learn from your Facebook, Twitter, Evernote & Google Reader accounts to automatically create an interest graph that you can use to get the stories that are most relevant to you from the best sources around the web, that you would have never seen otherwise, and cut down on the clutter and noise that you used to have to filter out yourself.

News 360

You can personalize your news using news 360


Clever social news feed reader. Get the latest on your interests in one place. Taptu is a social news feed reader that puts all of the stuff you’re into in one beautiful app. Taptu lets you add your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the content from your favorite web sites and blogs via RSS and transforms them into gorgeous visual streams. Or add, one of our specially curated streams on a variety of topics and genres. Found a news article or stream you like? Share it via Facebook, Twitter, Linked & email. Or, save it to read later using Instapaper

Taptu helps find the news you want

DJ your news with Taptu

News Republic (phone)

All Breaking News in 1 App. Follow only the topics that really matter to you!

News Republic (Tablet)

News Republic, the best-rated news app on Android worldwide, is now available on Android Tablets.

A fully customized edition that brings you:
– A new slick user interface especially designed for Android Honeycomb tablets
– The best of the TagNav by hopping from topic to topic and reading the news on the same screen.
– A photo gallery that gives the top stories in full-screen photos.

News Republic, it’s all the news worldwide, live, and from all major press agencies : AFP, eWeek, Adfero, Associated Press and websites …

Entertainment Apps 


Spotify brings millions of tracks to Android. Your music is always with you.How do you turn your Android into a mighty music machine? Just add Spotify.


Pandora radio is a personalized radio service that streams music on your phone.Pandora® internet radio is your own FREE personalized radio now available to stream music on your phone.


What’s that song? Identify it FAST with SoundHound.


Hear a song you don’t know? Shazam identifies it instantly

More sources of mobile information for farmers:

Farmer Bloggers


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