Farmers learn to use smart devices while working in the field

Published By: Russell Boone January 6, 2020

Charlie Grace, Fort Valley State University area Extension agent, provides instructions to farmers about setting up mobile devices on Dec. 9 during the Mobile Device Integration Technology Learning Workshop in Albany.

Farmers seeking to incorporate smartphones, laptops and tablets while in the field traveled to Albany on Dec. 9.

From 9 a.m.-12 p.m., more than 18 farmers attended the Computer-Mobile Device Integration Technology Learning Workshop at the Dougherty County Extension office. Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension program sponsored the event.

FVSU’s Mobile Information Technology Center (MITC) served as the site of the workshop. The MITC, a high tech computer classroom housed in a 72-foot semi-trailer, has more than twenty computer stations. Terrence Wolfork, assistant administrator for communications, conferencing and technology who oversees the facility, assisted Grace with the workshop.

During the workshop, farmers learned several tips on how to adapt their mobile devices to assist them in the field. This included learning how to set up folders on smartphones for photos and documents, transferring data from one device to another and compiling data for future use.  

Charlie Grace, FVSU area Extension agent, coordinated the workshop. “It is vital that farmers learn to utilize mobile technology as an aid,” Grace said. “Almost everybody has a device with a camera or ability to connect to the internet, and that can be useful in several situations,” he said.

The FVSU Extension agent said that visual aid helps farmers seeking assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), especially in the event of a natural disaster.  

“When Hurricane Michael hit Georgia, it left a trail of devastation in the farming community. However, some farmers had trouble showing proof of production records to get the full benefits of USDA disaster programs and crop insurance from private companies like State Farm and the Georgia Farm Bureau. We don’t want our clients to suffer that experience,” Grace said.

Chiquita Holsey, a farmer from Leesburg, completes an exercise on a laptop during the Mobile Device Integration Technology Learning Workshop.

Chiquita Holsey co-owns Holsey Farms LLC, a 40-acre farm in Leesburg, with her husband Shon. They presently use 16-acres to grow collard and turnip greens, kale, broccoli and other vegetables.

Holsey said the class is very informative, and learning how to set up folders using Microsoft Excel will help her organize information concerning the farm.

“I am thankful for being in this class. It is a great program and my hat goes off to FVSU for taking out the time to do this for us (farmers),” said the Leesburg native.

To learn more about future workshops, contact Grace at (478) 235-7091 or