Archives for November 2013

Should You Buy a Real or Fake Christmas Tree?

Xmas treeEvery year, the decision to get a natural or artificial Christmas tree is hotly debated in many households. There’s no clear answer and the decision often boils down to personal preference, but there are some facts the consumer should consider. Aside from being a bit less convenient, according to our research, buying a real tree can be better for the environment, our economy, and perhaps even our families. Here are the top ten reasons to buy a real, natural Christmas tree. [Read more…]

Anticipating the 2014 Film Farmland

Farmland, a movie premiering this Spring, 2014, gives us a closer look at the young farmers who grow our food today. In our modern age, when most all our food comes from a supermarket, it’s increasingly important to put faces to the food we eat. At Rural System we are all too aware of the plight of farmers and of all rural people.

light through clouds

Farmland: a 2014 film shedding light on the difficulties our young farmers face.

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Feedback? Try Feedforward!

Looking back we sometimes wish we had been looking farther forward. But can this 20/20 hindsight be anticipated beforehand?

At least with land management, progressively more responsive and complex ecological models are available to help predict how systems might respond in the near future. These are the models working behind VNodal, Rural System’s prescriptive software system. But once you project trends and patterns or make predictions about the future, they must be re-incorporated into your decision-making process so that you can act upon them.

This forward-thinking process has been dubbed “feedforward.” [Read more…]

Reaching for Economies of Scale

One of Rural System’s foundational principles is the idea that economies of scale must be achieved for a rural community to succeed. Small businesses struggle on their own in the present American economy. With Walmart and other massive corporations and franchises dominating the scene, the small business is finding it difficult to compete. Rural areas especially are suffering from poverty and unemployment. In such a climate, Rural System proposes developing many small businesses at once that can work together, and so creating the much needed economies of scale.

wheel of success

As a wheel with many spokes is well-supported and well-prepared to carry weight forth, so does an economy of scale carry small businesses forward into the future.


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Top Apps in Farming: There’s an App for That!

Today’s modern farmer, or Farmer 10.0, uses mobile technology like smartphones and tablets to manage their farm.

“Ag retailers — and agriculture professionals at large — are starving for mobile agriculture apps that can help them do their jobs better. They can’t get enough them.” – Matt Hopkins of

Canola Farmer on the PhoneCheck out Matt’s list of the 10 best mobile apps available in 2012 for agriculture and those which made the honorable mention list at the bottom. There’s a list of the best newly released apps for 2013 too!

For an increasing number of activities or problems on the farm you’ll hear the answer “There’s an app for that!” – identifying weeds, identifying plant diseases, mixing fertilizer, tracking planting, fertilizer reminders, social farming, current market prices and so much more.

There are apps for the commercial farmer, the small-scale farmer, and for the home gardener. Even Rural System is joining in the app fever and developing apps to help homeowners manage their garden needs. Check out our demo version of a home vegetable garden fertilization tool called SoilSmartRx.

The beauty of apps is that, just like computer programs, they can continue to be improved and designed to fit the consumers’ needs. With mobile apps, the future of farming is, quite literally, in your hands.

How often do you use mobile apps for your agricultural needs?

Do you wish you had an app for something?

We want to know! Share your thoughts in the comments section below.