Farmers and growers utilizing technology like tablets and cell phones to keep an eye on our water

When you think of agriculture, what comes to mind? Probably not that iPad or cell phone you’re using, right?

Actually, farmers and growers are using that same technology to keep an eye on the water and more.

“Most people convey a farmer as somebody out there with some shovels, and hoes, and some tractors,” said Sonya Lee, president and owner of Ag-Tronix in Immokalee.

But now, you can add smartphones, tablets and other gadgets.

“They use these monitoring controls not only to help them grow successfully and more efficiently, as well as save money,” she said.

Here’s how it works: Farmers and growers decide how much water and fertilizer they need for their crops. Then, data is sent from the command center on a computer to the pumping stations out in the field.

“You may want alerts, high flows, low flows,” Lee said. Those alerts can be sent to their tablets or smartphones.

“They’re minimizing the amount of water that’s going out there,” said Dr. Fritz Roka, director of the Center for Agribusiness at FGCU. “They’re putting out only what they need in terms of fertilizer.”

As tech evolves, so does agriculture. Roka calls it a win for our water.

“The water quality issues we face, it’s a collective effort,” he said.

While the technology comes with an initial cost, the hope is for farming to be more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Briana Harvath
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