Published on 06/17/96

Showcase to Feature Computers in Farming

If a farmer ever needed a reason to buy a computer for the farm, he'll get it at Ag Showcase '96. Practical uses, networks and gee-whiz ideas will show off the technology changing the future of farming.

The Showcase is Saturday, June 29, at the Rural Development Center in Tifton. It starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. And it features the latest from Georgia agricultural colleges.

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences cosponsors the showcase with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Fort Valley State College.

The event showcases the work of Georgia Extension Service specialists and agents and Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station researchers. It brings academic and research advances to the heart of Georgia farming.

Many displays will use computers to explain their messages. One will show how programs predict crop yields. Others will detail software that supports farmers.

Two new CDs will be on display. One includes 200 full-color pictures of forest insects and damage. The other is the Extension Service's 'Pest Control Handbook.'

"We'll show how to get the Extension CDs and use them," said Don Hamilton, an Extension Service computer specialist.

Hamilton will show how farmers can use the World Wide Web, too. He'll show how they can find the Extension Service Web page.

"Our World Wide Web site has been accessed 50,000 times since last June," Hamilton said. "It's averaging around 4,500 times a week."

The site has farm publications and news stories, names and phone numbers of county agents and specialists, and much more.

Ever see a GSAMS classroom? You can at the showcase. The (Georgia Statewide Academic and Medical System) classroom offers two-way voice and video links among up to seven sites.

"This technology carries graphics, charts, photos and video," said Bob Molleur, an Extension Service visual communications specialist. "It's a way of teaching in several remote sites at once."

GSAMS has 300 such classrooms in schools, libraries and state agencies. It has 59 in hospitals linked to the Medical College of Georgia. In the first three months this year, GSAMS carried 325 conferences in 900 sites.