I achieved something close to nerd farming nirvana for a short while on Wednesday afternoon. This very rare and beautiful state was achieved as I was sitting on the tractor and planting canola. For you see, this tractor was driving in gun-barrel straight lines courtesy of the 2cm accurate auto-steer that was steering it. At the same time as I was being directed by these invisible satellites, I was on my phone participating in an online Twitter discussion hosted by @abcrural. This was farming I could handle! Sometimes, technology is just awesome.
To repeat: I was participating in a live twitter discussion using my iPhone 3Gs over the Next G network while sitting on a tractor that was steering itself with 2cm satellite guided accuracy while pulling planting equipment weighing several tonnes. Farming has come a long way.
When I first started back at the farm I discovered an entire network of farmers using social media. This group was headed up by the folks over at Ag Chat & was linking together farmers from all over the world. I’ve found it really interesting ‘following’ American farmers, and reading about the totally different challenges they have and the way they farm. However this Twitter chat that I participated in on Wednesday was fantastic as it’s the first Australian based one that I’ve come across. It was started by the rural reporting arm of the Australian ABC. This is great because it provides a way for Aussie farmers and ruralites to connect and discuss issues online through social media. Hopefully it will grow and thrive as it’s American equivalent has and farmers from all around can engage both with each other and the consumers around them.