Information is powerful, and running a produce farm efficiently requires tracking vast amounts of information. Planting dates, harvest yields, soil amendments, tillage, pest scouting, sprays, and sales invoices are some of the many data points that can be useful if recorded in a convenient, searchable format. FARMDATA is a collaborative project built by farmers and computer scientists that has been field proven over several years to make record keeping fast, efficient and even fun. FARMDATA is an internet database system customized to your farm that is compatible with smartphones and desktop machines, allows multiple users simultaneously, and is password protected. This innovative system allows farms to digitize a wide variety of records instantly from the field, eliminating the need for clipboards or field notebooks and the tedious task of data entry at the end of the season. Smart input forms use drop-down menus to minimize typing and data entry errors while performing helpful calculations automatically. FARMDATA's record keeping functions are exceptionally handy for reporting requirements of organic farmers, but the data collected will be valuable to any produce operation. Best of all, FARMDATA is free and open source. To view an active working copy of FARMDATA please visit the Dickinson College Farm page guest access at http://farmdata.dickinson.edu/guest.php
This hands-on interactive workshop will take place in a computer lab at Dickinson College. After an introductory slide show, participants will launch their own custom accounts with coaching from experienced FARMDATA users. Time will be provided for troubleshooting new account startup and demonstration of the function and use of a variety of FARMDATA pages. Our goal is to get you started on the right foot, so that you can begin fast and easy digital recordkeeping on your farm this growing season! If time permits we will also discuss crop planning theory and practice using Microsoft Excel. FARMDATA does not have automated crop planning functions built in, but the information collected by FARMDATA makes the crop planning process faster and easier in the long run.
Pre-registration is required to prepare your FARMDATA account. Registered participants will be provided with a list of farm-specific information to bring along to get started. Registration will close at noon on March 29th.