MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky has the largest cattle industry on this side of the Mississippi River and is among the ten largest cattle industries in the nation -- yet most of these farmers must find work off the farm to support their income.
It’s not something you would always think goes hand-in-hand -- farming and technology -- but these developers believe it does. People with the University of Kentucky Beef Extension created a new app to help cattle farmers, called X10D.
Dr. Les Anderson, an Extension Beef Specialist with the University of Kentucky, says, "Our goal was to help them incorporate modern production practices and collect data so that they can manage their farms in a little bit more business-like approach."
This extension project is seven years in the making, collecting data from nearly 150 farms. Now, the app helps farmers collect data and streamline their business in seconds. The creators hope it will make Kentucky’s beef industry stronger.
"Honestly, our beef industry is aging, and the limited revenue and limited opportunities for young farmers to profit in the beef industry is really declining," Dr. Anderson says.
Kentucky is the eighth largest cattle producer in the U.S. and leaders say this app could help farmers increase their revenue anywhere from 30% to 40%.
"In the past, I made every decision on a guess -- all-be-it it was always an educated guess, I tried for it to be -- but you make a whole lot better decisions on things that you know than when you guess,” says one Bracken County cattle farmer, Bart Hamilton.
Hamilton frequents the Harrison County Extension. Hamilton is a fourth-generation farmer who would like to farm full-time. He works as a contractor for additional income.
The extension and app are helping him move toward that by goal collecting solid data -- even increasing his revenue by more than 200%. He'd like to pass on the tradition to his children.
Hamilton says, "There's not a lot of young people. There's not a lot of people younger than me, and my kids do love it. I've got two that love it a lot and I wanted to make sure they had something."
Hamilton believes when farmers do well, everyone does.
Dr. Anderson says farming industries haven't caught up with technology. He says this app will help farmers in Kentucky and hopefully across the nation make the best use of their land and resources.
"We can help more people generate more revenue on the same amount of land and they're more app to continue that beef operation and to continue Kentucky’s long tradition of excellent...of an excellent beef industry,” says Dr. Anderson.
This app only costs farmers $20 a year to use. The extension program at UK is teaming up with the University of Tennessee to continue their data entry programs.
The app is now available on the Apple App Store and will also be available on Google Play this week.