Georgia Tech Research Institute spacer Agricultural Technology Research Program

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Georgia Ag Department’s Market Bulletin Goes Mobile with ATRP’s Help

 

Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin Smart Phone App

The Agricultural Technology Research Program (ATRP) at the Georgia Tech Research Institute has been involved in providing technical assistance to Georgia’s agricultural community since 1973. In many ways during its 38-year history, ATRP has led the field in innovative research and development, striving to anticipate the ways in which technology can improve Georgia’s largest economic sector.

So, when the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) started thinking of ways to make their Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin more accessible and economically viable, they turned to ATRP’s technological experience for ideas.

“The Department of Agriculture is thrilled to be partnering with ATRP on the development of our Market Bulletin smart application. With ATRP’s knowledge of agriculture and agribusiness, along with their technological know-how, we are confident the Market Bulletin app will be a resounding success,” says Billy Skaggs, chief operating officer for the Department.

To get the project started, Steven Thomas, a media specialist and communications officer at ATRP, met with members of GDA’s marketing department, giving a presentation on smart applications for use on devices such as the iPad and smart phones.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin has been a valuable resource for Georgia citizens since its beginnings in 1917. In 2003, the Georgia General Assembly changed the Market Bulletin from a weekly to a bi-monthly publication. During the 2011 General Assembly, budget cuts caused the non-profit publication to become a subscription publication in order to stay viable.

A major part of the costs of a bi-monthly publication are printing and mailing costs, as well as upkeep of the database of subscribers. Although the subscription cost is kept to a minimum, publication costs can be pared by utilizing new technologies, such as the Internet.

While older generations of subscribers like to hold something in their hands, younger generations like information at their fingertips, whether on a computer, tablet, or phone. Giving customers a choice of a smart app will allow for lower printing and mailing costs as well as automatic upkeep of the database of subscribers.

“Due to the nature of the Market Bulletin being a publication that is “updated” every two weeks, the best way to implement this smart app is utilizing the framework of a website. This type of smart app is known as a web-based app, and is utilized in the same way as a website — when the website is updated, the smart app is also updated,” says Thomas.

The Market Bulletin app will be ready for testing in late January and early February 2012. The official launch date will coincide with Georgia’s Ag Week celebrations in March.

For more information on the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin, see http://agr.georgia.gov/market-bulletin.aspx.