USDA telework apps allow farmers to be out standing in their field

Monday - 4/4/2011, 4:00am EDT

The product of telework doesn't have to be just data generated by a federal employee. The Department of Agriculture is also working to make it mean data generated for them as well.

On Federal News Radio's Ask the CIO, the USDA's Natural Resources and Conservation Service's Gary Washington says as a new generation of farmers comes up, the NRCS is trying to reach them in the field and on their smartphone.

Washington tells executive editor Jason Miller, "what we're trying accomplish is to get conservation on the ground. and what I mean by that is we want to have farmers, our stakeholders, with the ability to be more mobile and spend more time out in the field."

So NRCS is developing apps for mobile devices, "probably be Droids, iPhones, iPads, things of that nature," said Washington.

"That workforce is younger now and more technology savvy and we want to make sure.... they have the opportunity to take advantage of the technology that's available to them."

The apps will include financial assistance and data inputs "for geospatial data that looks at and reviews people's farms so people can do conservation planning on mobile devices" as examples.

Washington said eliminating the paper handling could mow down processing time by 60 to 70 percent.