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Conference Name Computer Training for Farm Businesses

Jennifer Rhodes and Shannon Dill


Computers are an important tool for farm business management. In a recent survey from the USDA farm computer use continues to rise (USDA NASS 2011). In Maryland about 60% of farms have access to computers but only 34% use computers for farm business. In an effort to increase knowledge, farm efficiency and use of technology the University of Maryland Extension has offered a series of computer classes focused for farm computer use. There are four sessions offered which include: General computer navigation and use, Excel, QuickBooks for beginners and advanced QuickBooks. Farmers learned how to manage files, operate windows software, secure computers, develop spreadsheets and use QuickBooks. All sessions are hands on with participants in a computer lab. These sessions partnered with a local community college, a University of Maryland Information Technology Specialist and a local accounting firm.

Through this program 324 individuals have participated in this program. Each participant received a USB flash drive preloaded with numerous fact sheets, presentation, spreadsheets and other documents. Part of each session taught participants how to use this equipment and emphasized backing up computer and business documents with it. End of class evaluations were conducted. Participants report 98% increasing computer use on the farm, 94% increasing farm recordkeeping and 97% increasing their knowledge of computer systems.

Presentation Materials