MU 'Computers on the Farm' meeting lets Missouri farmers, youth share ideas on new tools

Posted: Dec. 22, 2016 1:44 pm

The University of Missouri "Computers on the Farm" conference will be a family affair, set for Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14.

"Young people take home and apply what they learned before mom and dad do," said John Travlos, leader of the University of Missouri meeting at Tan-Tar-A Resort, Osage Beach.

Parts of the annual meeting are often taught by the kids, Travlos said. He encouraged participants to "bring the family."

Much of the conference will consist of current farm users sharing what they’ve learned about computers, he said. The event will be geared toward basic beginners and advanced users. For 2017's conference, FFA members are expected to share how they developed uses they picked up last year. That includes a way to tell if an electric fence gate is open or closed.

"One computer, known as Raspberry Pi, is so small it can be powered by the charge on an electric fence," Travlos said.

The conference started 37 years ago with the arrival of microcomputers. Early on, the priority was switching farm record keeping to computers. A big part of the program this year will be on converting to paper-free mode.

"One goal is more paperless offices," Travlos said.

A certified public accountant will share farm business and tax tips. Computers provide easier ways to comply with tax changes.

The newest farming applications apply data from drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles. Precision agriculture depends on computers and lots of data. Some of that data comes from satellites miles high in the sky.

Much of today’s farm machinery contains computers to control operations and collect data.

Participants bring ideas to share. All are urged to bring their own computers and devices.

"This allows user-group meetings," Travlos said. "There will be lots of hands-on use."

Special sessions this year include digital cameras. Also, 3-D printers will be shown. An added session will include social media for learning and farm marketing.

To keep the farm focus in the topics, Travlos relies on a farmer planning committee. Members are Jason Dieckhoff, Harrisonville; Doug Davis, Fillmore; Joe Veras, O’Fallon; Steve Kelly, Alton; Robert Davis, Ashland; and Garrett Riekhof, Higginsville.

Being at the Lake of the Ozarks allows people to get away for a mini-vacation," Travlos said. "Stay the weekend."

The program starts with registration at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, and runs until Saturday afternoon. A registration fee includes meals and materials.

The resort offers special room rates by calling 800-826-8272.

Users can register for the conference online at

Tan-Tar-A is on State Road KK, 3 miles off Highway 54 in Osage Beach.

Travlos urged FFA and 4-H members to come learn new project undertakings. They can also help their parents with their computers.

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