If you have been on a tractor lately, you probably know the clutch has pretty much been rendered useless by those new transmissions. As a kid, my family had several newer tractors, but my dad made sure I learned how to drive that ole rugged Massey before anything else. Drive a few rounds on that thing with a brush-hog or hay rake and you will appreciate the cab and gears on the new tractors.

Technology seems to be running strides ahead of me these days. Every time I turn around the latest smart-phone is two months out of date. (I have yet to own a smart phone with an internet plan.) Every farm show has some new equipment and they already have an app to tell us when the hay is ripe for baling. It may just be me, but sometimes I feel like technology is taking us backward. Go to an auction barn these days and you will see buyers reading the latest text-message market-update instead of jotting them down before showing up. I remember when cattle were weighed after leaving the ring and buyers could eyeball weights pretty close. Now scales are before or in the sale ring and large purchases always have a slide. Sometimes I just get that feeling technology is making us lazy.

Now do not get me wrong, we have many reasons to be thankful. For instance, right now I am watching my dad’s special cow sale from the comfort of my house two hours away. And no mistake I have thought about subscribing to those market updates to stay in-the-know. However, I think the biggest advantage of technology is connectivity. I may be glued to the ranch for calving season, but I can still talk with ranchers across the country. “Who got the most snow?” “How’s calving season treating ya’ll?” “Is that drought letting up?” There are no limit to how fast news can travel.

One of the most fascinating things for me is I can attend conferences and meetings without ever being there. I just look up the #NCBA11 tag on Twitter or do a blog search to get instant updates at what is happening up in Denver. I cannot exactly jump and leave 100 calving heifers this time of year, but I can take time to sit down at the computer and learn all about what I am missing.

Now, what I did not tell ya’ll earlier. The other day I sat down on an ole John Deere to haul off some feed and I actually had to think about how to start the thing. Maybe I should not tell dad or he may stick me on that ole Massey again.

Tractor Photo Ryans Blog

Do you use the internet to catch-up with everyone in the Ag business? What piece of technology are you most thankful to have? Let me know your thoughts and what is happening around your place.