'Wi-Fi Farming' in South Georgia

By: Caroline Gonzmart Email
By: Caroline Gonzmart Email

The dawn of a new era in farming has arrived in south Georgia.

With the help of Bainbridge's Main Street Broadband internet initiative, farmers have the option of controlling their irrigation systems wirelessly -- while keeping an eye on things in the field.

Explains Decatur County's Administrator Tom Patton, "Over 70 percent of our economy is farm-based, and we knew there were applications by tying high-speed internet and our irrigation systems. That serves the purposes of conserving water, conserving energy, and it increases the yield."

The technology uses cameras and sensors, connected by wi-fi, to monitor virtually anything the farmer desires -- from soil temperature to rainfall -- and organizes the data in a personal online profile.

Farmers then use the information to decide where and when to wirelessly turn on their large irrigation systems, or 'pivots'.

Glenn Heard already had the system installed on his farm, and says, "If this technology works -- and it works the way we think it will -- I think all farmers will be interested in this."

Behind the innovation is I-Linc Technologies, a company owned and operated by one of General Motors' former automation experts, Paul Gupta.

Says Gupta, "I'm really passionate about technology, I'm really passionate about helping people -- farmers in this case -- and I'm more than happy to bring better products to help our farmers."

And many farmers say the idea of having an 'ag control center' at their desks doesn't sound bad at all.

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