KSU, FHSU to hold Applied Ag Computing Conference on FHSU campus

HAYS, KS -- As technology spreads and grows, no one or thing is left unaffected. Farm-based agriculture is among the newer areas touched by the upswing in computer-based business and technology. Those technology and computer-related agricultural issues will be addressed at the 2000 Conference on Applied Ag Computing.

Fort Hays State University will serve as host for the conference co-sponsored by Kansas State University's Northwest Research and Extension Center. The event is slated to take place Jan. 5-6 in the Memorial Union on the FHSU campus.

According to Brittany Bock, assistant professor of agriculture at FHSU, the conference is designed for profit-minded agricultural producers who want to get a better understanding of how some of the latest technology may help them be more efficient and effective in their businesses.

"Computers can generate lots of information. Producers who can collect, process and apply that information will have an edge over those that don't. Producers attending this conference may learn about a method of marketing products or purchasing products that could improve their bottom line," Bock said.

This conference is believed to be the first of its kind in Kansas.

"Our primary motivation for having the conference was in response to the questions we would get concerning the best software package to accomplish a task. We thought the best thing we could do to help producers was to bring them together in one spot and have the companies show what they could do," Bock said.

A growing interest in E-commerce was another thrust of the conference.

"Almost every day there is a new company that is trying to find a niche in servicing agriculture producers. E-commerce will provide new opportunities for producers to conduct their businesses," Bock said.

During the two-day conference, several guest speakers will address the group. FHSU President Edward H. Hammond will speak on "Technology, A Look into the Future"; CyberCrop.com President and CEO Scott Detter will address "How Farmers and Ranchers are Using the Internet"; ag executive Darrel Dunteman will speak on "Comparison of Ag Accounting Software"; Willie Vogt of Farm Progress will speak on "Maximizing E-Commerce for your Farm or Ranch"; and a panel discussion will take place concerning "Precision Ag Applications and Issues."

Participants will also be able to attend three 40-minute sessions with at least three choices for each session.

Session I choices include "Electronic Grain Merchandising," "Electronic Livestock Auctions," "Use of QuickBooks for Farm Accounting" and "Producer Web Pages to Market Products."

Session II choices are "Data Sharing in Vertically Coordinated Livestock Production Systems," "Buying Supplies via the Internet" and "What's What in Communication Technologies."
Session II choices consist of "Use of Personal Data Assistants in Agriculture," "Record Keeping Systems for Cow/Calf Operations" and "Being a Wise Technology Consumer."

Additionally, a trade show will take place throughout the convention. Here participants will be able to view the latest in ag technology and computing.

On the whole, the conference will address how technological and computer-acquired information can enhance an operation and improve profitability for producers dealing with agricultural-related issues.

"Applied ag computing is using microcomputers and the Internet as tools to either reduce cost of production, market products better or manage the financial and production aspects of agricultural businesses more effectively. How useful the microcomputer is as a tool will depend on how well we understand its potential applications," Bock said.

Use of the Internet can provide agricultural producers with access to up-to-date market and product information along with the ability to get more bids from more potential sources while providing producers the ability to access both local and national agribusiness resources.

Costs for the conference are as follows: early registration: individual $95, couple $175, student $55; on-site registration: individual $125, couple $200, student $75.

Early registration for the conference must be received by Dec. 22.

For additional information on the conference, visit the conference Web site at www.oznet.ksu.edu/agcomputingexpo or contact the Northwest Research and Extension Center by phone at (785) 462-6281 or by fax at (785) 462-2351.

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