U.S. Cellular: Wireless technology becomes must-have on farm

Farmers, Ranchers Use Smartphones, Tablets at High Rate

WAUKESHA, Wis. (April 15, 2015) – A planter, pickup truck, seed, tools and good weather are agriculture essentials. With planting season underway, another item has been added to the must-have list on Wisconsin farms – a smartphone.

More farmers are turning to wireless technology to help them in the fields. According to a February 2015 Farm Journal survey, 69 percent of farmers own a smartphone, while an additional 18 percent plan to purchase one in the next 12 months. An AgWeb 2009 survey indicated that only 14 percent of farmers owned a smartphone.

Like a corn field in the summer, tablet usage also is rapidly rising. The same Farm Journal survey estimates that 59 percent of farmers will own a tablet by 2016 after 12 percent indicated they plan to purchase one within the next 12 months.

“The devices we now carry in our hands have replaced older technology and make it easier to get our work done, whether at the office, home or on a farm,” said Laurier Poellinger, U.S. Cellular’s director of sales in Wisconsin. “Just having the device with you in the fields or the barn does not do much good without a network to back it up, so we provide national coverage that works in big and small cities, as well as rural communities, to ensure you can always stay connected.”

The Farm Journal survey revealed that farmers use smartphones for multiple tasks, such as phone calls (87 percent), text messaging (85 percent), emailing (75 percent) and online searches (72 percent). With the advance of cellular networks, apps and mobile computing technology, farmers also can use wireless devices to help them get important real-time information, increase efficiency and save money on corn, dairy, hog and soybean operations. There are a variety of devices to assist these agricultural needs.

A 4G LTE Router or wireless modem from U.S. Cellular can easily bring high-speed Internet to a barn. Farmers and ranchers also turn to hotspots and vehicle monitoring systems to assist them with wireless communications.

There also are a number of free apps available on iTunes and the Google Play store that can assist the agriculture community.

* Farming: Climate provides up-to-the-minute, field-level current and future weather, field workability and crop growth stage information. Farmers can easily check whether fields will be workable in the coming hours or days based on weather, soil conditions and forecasts. Connected Farm uses a phone’s GPS for mapping field boundaries and to locate irrigation pivots, mark flags and enter scouting information for points, lines and polygon areas. SoilWeb offers GPS-based, real-time access to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service soil survey data by retrieving graphical summaries of soil types associated with the user’s current geographic location. Images are linked to detailed information on the named soils.

* Markets and News: Farm Futures features enhanced user-customized markets, market commentary, news and audio reports. It is updated every business day. Farm Progress allows farmers to follow local agriculture news and grain and livestock markets.

* Weather: A recent U.S. Cellular survey revealed that 92 percent of smartphone owners used their device to check the weather or forecast, while 86 percent looked for updates on the latest news once a month or more.¹ The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, WeatherBug, MyRadar Weather Radar and Yahoo Weather can help keep farmers and ranchers ahead of storms.

¹Results are from a nationally representative online survey of 738 smartphone owners conducted by U.S. Cellular in partnership with Maritz Research from Nov. 12-20, 2014.

4G LTE service provided through King Street Wireless, a partner of U.S. Cellular. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.

About U.S. Cellular

U.S. Cellular is the fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by a high-quality network in big and small cities and rural communities. Currently, 94 percent of customers have access to 4G LTE speeds. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Champion in 2014 for the third time in four years. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com . To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on http://www.Facebook.com/uscellular, http://www.Twitter.com/uscellular and http://www.YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.