Farmers told to embrace technology and speak out for their industry
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Darragh McCullough (second right) guest speaker at Fermanagh Grassland Club with (from left) Alan Warnock, chairman; Maurice Hurst and Albert Foster.
Farmers attending this year's annual dinner and awards organised by Fermanagh Grassland Club were treated to a live demonstration of the new generation of mobile phones which could market their produce straight from the farm.
The speaker at the dinner was Darragh McCullough, better known as one of the presenters of RTE's rural affairs programme, "Ear to the Ground."
Darragh, who also farms in East Meath, is also Deputy Editor of Farming Independent published each Tuesday in the Irish Independent.
Speakkng on "Winning the PR war for farmers, W, Darragh spoke about his work and how he became a full-time journalist and part-time farmer. Darragh studied agriculture at Greenmount College and graduated from UCD before returning to the home farm which has dry stock and horticulture enterprises.
Darragh said he wanted something more than just practical farming and has been working on Ear to the Ground for 10 years, the longest established presenter on the programme. He was a also columnist with the Irish Farmers' Journal.
At that time, the family grew 200 acres of onions but some bad years resulted in cutting back and he is now growing daffodils. He also set up a mobile farm which visited schools to show children where their food came from.
The bad weather of the years of 2007, 2008, and 2009 made his swing more full-time to journalism and part-time farming.
His TV work to which 650,000 viewers regularly tune in to watch, is highly popular.
He then introduced his audience to the iPhone, one of the latest generation smart phones and did a live recording of himself at the dinner, and interviewed Maurice Hurst about milk prices. He downloaded it onto his Facebook page and published it on the internet within minutes.
That, he said, was the power of modern communication and he told farmers they must engage with the public on the merits of producing good quality food.
He told them they had the power to do that and now, with the technology available, the means to do it too.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 24 Feb 11
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Mar 26, 16:35
I am a total fan of integrating new technology into farming. Since our accountant recommended we try out some new mobile computing units, we're all more streamlined and coordinated. There are a variety of handheld Windows-based computers out there (the mc55 comes to mind) that are easy to use. Plus, they are rugged and have GPS. So while I'm farming, I can also plot points where I spot deer!
The quicker American farmers get with new technology, the faster we can take the lead on world agriculture.
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