Laptop in field

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The annual Computers on the Farm conference returns to the Lake of the Ozarks Jan. 17-18 to help producers learn digital tools for their farms.

While it’s arranged by University of Missouri Extension, much teaching comes from farm users, according to an Extension news release.

There are demonstrations and trading of ideas, says Kent Shannon, MU Extension field specialist in agricultural engineering. Previous participants return with updates and advances.

Computer uses range from simple to advanced, and topics at the workshop range from grazing-paddock management to using drones for scouting.

Early computer users focused on business aids to farming, and bookkeeping still applies. New spreadsheets offer help in budgeting and dealing with taxes.

Now precision technology used widely in cropping is digital-dependent and farm users find new ways to refine that use. Mapping will be a big part of this conference. That includes GIS tools from MU’s “All Things Missouri” data and mapping service.

Equipment has advanced greatly. This year will feature use of “micro computers.”

There will be hands-on sessions, Shannon says. Both hardware and software will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their own devices.

Young people, including FFA members, take part in Computers on the Farm. They may help their parents use technology.

The conference is at the same Ozark resort, but the resort has a new name: Margaritaville Lake Resort, 494 Tan Tar A Drive, Osage Beach. Call 800-826-8272.

Register at For information, contact Shannon at 573-445-9792 or

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