A Shining Example of the New Enterprise Environment

Joe's tree farm 2On Monday afternoon I went out to Joe’s Trees to cut down this year’s real Christmas tree. It was a rather quiet afternoon so I had a long enjoyable talk with the owner, Sue Bostic. In a previous post I mentioned that I’ve been coming to Joe’s Trees for over a decade. Sue still remembers the year that I was traveling to my childhood home for the holidays and hauled an 11 foot tree for 5 hours on the roof of my 1990 Toyota Camry! We talked about my recent article “Should You Buy a Real or Fake Christmas Tree” and how much she appreciated us sharing valuable, accurate information with the public about trees. “So many of our visitors come from cities and have no idea about the growth of a tree or the environmental value of tree farms. We hope to change that.” said Sue. She forwarded the article to Jeff Miller, Secretary of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association and the National Christmas Tree Association who also enjoyed the post. It’s extra special to know that our posts are valuable to those could benefit from Rural System concepts and that we’re getting meaningful traffic on our blog. [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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 CropLife.com

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.

Farmer 10.0 – Breaking the Mold

Conjure up the classic image of a farmer in your mind. You’re probably picturing a man, in flannel or perhaps overalls, sweaty and sunbaked with a pitchfork or maybe sitting on a tractor. Toss out all those preconceived notions of the behind-the-times country boy who talks funny and hasn’t heard of modern technology and get ready to embrace farmer 10.0.Farmer 1.0 vs 10.0

Farmers today are chemists, engineers, soil scientists and biologists. Many are well-educated and have turned farming into a science. Soil testing is now routine, applying variable rates of fertilizer is common, and using GPS to map crops and track pesticide or fertilizer applications are yesterday’s news. Modern technology is not limited to big agriculture, individual farmers are getting in the game too. Laptop computers and mobile devices are making it easier and more affordable for average farmers to leverage high-tech assistance in their day-to-day work in the fields. [Read more…]