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Farm Computer Uses Beyond Bookkeeping Featured at MU Conference at Osage Beach

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The annual Computers on the Farm conference returns to the Lake of the Ozarks Jan. 17-18, 2020, to help producers learn digital tools for their farms.

While it’s arranged by University of Missouri Extension, much teaching comes from farm users. They share their digital methods to solve problems.

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. Topics range from grazing-paddock management to using drones for scouting.

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

Precision technology used widely in cropping is digital-dependent. 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. State maps zoom right down to local areas.

Equipment has advanced greatly since the beginning. This year will feature use of “Micro Computers.”

There will be hands-on sessions, Shannon assures. 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. Young people may come by the busload from some schools.

The conference is at the same Ozark resort as before, but the resort has a new name: Margaritaville Lake Resort, 494 Tan Tar A Drive, Osage Beach. Special off-season room rates apply. Call 800-826-8272.

To register, go to

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

The agenda isn’t final, Shannon says. Farmers still come forth to share.

“Bring your family and make a vacation at the Lake,” Shannon says. “It can be a weekend away.”