Department of Agriculture Embraces New Technology to Reach Florida Farmers
Around the State
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is doubling down on its commitment to digital outreach and technology as Commissioner Adam Putnam unveiled a new program and website in recent days.
Putnam announced on Monday that the department has teamed up with the University of Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN) to launch the “My Florida Farm Weather” program which provides information on weather and wind conditions in the Sunshine State. The new program contains information on the temperature, rainfall and other precipitation, dew point, wind speeds and other factors.
“This technology will help Florida agricultural producers more efficiently manage irrigation and the application of nutrients on their lands,” said Putnam on Monday. “Real-time weather data will also help producers save costs and mitigate their impact on the environment.”
The information comes from weather stations across the Sunshine State which can help inform farmers when to delay irrigation and use pesticides and fertilizer. There are already almost 80 stations set up with applications pending. Farmers are eligible for one station for each 300 acres they farm and the department will fund 75 percent of the cost up to $5,000 with a cap of $25,000 to each producer. The stations are designed by the department and FAWN.
This is not the only digital outreach effort from the department in recent days. On Thursday, Putnam unveiled a new design for the department website.
“We’re working to improve the way we provide information to and interact with Floridians,” said Putnam. “The new FreshFromFlorida.com helps us do just that. Floridians look to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for a wide variety of reasons – from recreational opportunities on Florida state forests to consumer assistance and information to recipes featuring Florida-grown products – and the newly designed website will allow them to more easily find what they are looking for.”
The new site has a search feature and focuses on live chat and the 1-800 consumer hotline.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.