Apparently there are now more than 630 million active websites on the internet, 40 million plus Facebook pages and in excess of 1.5 million apps available for mobile devices. To save you some time we’ve put together a list of what we think are 10 of the best and most useful sites, blogs, apps and videos with a beef industry flavour right now. There’s many more we would have liked to include so we’ll update this list again soon – If there’s any you think we should add next time, please email us here firstname.lastname@example.org or post a message in the comment section below.
Ringers From The Top End (Facebook):
Ringers From The Top End or RFTTE is ‘the online campfire’ for the cattle station community. NSW country boy and former Top End ringer Simon Cheatham founded RFTTE on Facebook to help current and past station workers to stay in touch, and to help with an interest in the cattle station community to learn all about it. “It’s the place to have a yarn, ask a question or find an old mate,” Simon explains. It is also a great place to search for a job on a cattle station or to ask for one. The site’s many dedicated followers include people from all walks of station life, including camp cooks, bore runners, bull catchers, road train drivers, governesses, fixed wing or chopper pilots, drovers, mechanics, yard builders, backpackers, and of course, Ringers from the Top End. A comprehensive photo gallery also helps visitors to get a feel for life on a station. Visit RFTTE on Facebook by clicking here.
Farmz.com.au has been described as “facebook for farmers”. While that description captures the community –style purpose of Farmz, it undersells the specialised nature of the website sixth-generation Queensland grazier and IT professional Alex Sparkes has created to connect farmers across Australia. Farmz invites farmers to set up profiles of their own farms and to connect with others around the country. It also gives people outside of agriculture an opportunity to glimpse into the lives of Australian farmers living and working on the land. “We are passionate about the role technology can play in enhancing the lives of people involved in agriculture, and that’s why we created one place online where farmers can meet, learn, discuss and share what’s happening on their farm,” he said. Visit www.farmz.com.au
In the space of a year or two, scores of rural blogs have popped up across the web-o-sphere, many inspired by a 2011 ABC Landline story featuring the ‘ag-vocacy’efforts of Troy and Stacy Hadrick. The proactive US cattle producers have inspired a growing online army of rural Facebookers, Twitterers, bloggers and media commentators who help to ensure that the farmers’ voice is heard wherever public discussions about agriculture take place. Proving there is no more powerful story than a personal story, rural bloggers are now sharing the reality of daily life from the paddock with readers across Australia, contributing to public knowledge about and understanding of agriculture, while also helping to ease the sense isolation that can sometimes come with rural life. For a taste of what’s out there some of the best known include the “Farmers’ Way” blog by WA sheep farmer; The Stockman’s View by live export stockman and rural advocate Jim McDonald and the Bush Babe of Oz, which uses stunning pictures and humourous and heartfelt insights to depict one family’s daily life making a living on Queensland cattle property. Another must-visit site is Aus Ag Adventures, established by Steph Coombes, a city girl with a deep passion for agriculture. Steph colourfully documents the ever-growing list of adventures she has experienced both throughout Australia and internationally since graduating with an ag science degree. Her “Live export diaries” – a series of videos which portray life on a live export boat – have also gained her national media attention. Steph, who was last year named the NAB Cattle Council of Australia beef industry rising champion, has opened the site to contributions from other rural bloggers who don’t have time to run their own. Definitely worth a visit also to read some of the many great entries she has receieved in her current guest blogging competition – visit www.ausagadventures.com
In keeping with the view that the best people to tell agriculture’s story are those directly involved in agriculture themselves, this industry-funded and promoted website provides a window into the real action livestock producers across Australia are taking to improve the sustainability their enterprises. The “Target 100” program highlights the more than 100 research, development and extension initiatives that Australia’s cattle and sheep industries have embraced to improve areas such as biodiversity, water management, farm emissions and soil health by 2020. The website outlines each initiative and provides mini-case studies on more than 130 farming enterprises. Cattle Council of Australia president Andrew Ogilvie recently told Beef Central that the initiative is helping Australia’s cattle industry to not only demonstrate its commitment to sustainability to the Australian public, but to export customers as well. “Overseas customers are telling us they are aware of Target 100 and what farmers are achieving towards sustainability, and that the program is giving them the confidence to tell their consumers that the industry’s sustainability claims and real and can be verified.” Visit www.target100.com.au
When Calliope Cattle Station owner and manager William Wilson purchased his first smart phone, he instantly saw the potential to develop an App to help cattle producers manage their herds. The fourth-generation grazier had some handy experience to draw upon, having been inspired by the pioneering herd and mustering management system his father Rodney Wilson developed in the 1980s for the MSDOS platform. iHerd is basically a mobile stock book, which allows producers to upload data from the paddock, and to quickly access and trace cattle numbers, cattle movements and treatment processes. “With just a few simple taps, you can access all your property details, including sales data, treatment cabinets, tags, and general reporting, something that has traditionally been a very timely process for farmers,” Mr Wilson says. The free app is available by visiting http://iherd.com.au/
Red meat, green facts
It takes more than 50,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef, eating a steak is worse for the environment than driving your car for three hours while leaving the lights on at home, cows are solely responsible for the world’s methane emissions… or so some of the stories often perpetuated about livestock production in the media go. Unfortunately none of them are true, and are the result of agenda-driven research based on inaccurate assumptions, unfair comparisons and basic failures to account for full carbon life-cycles. This website, developed by Meat & Livestock Australia, aims to bust some of the many myths that are often recycled about livestock production and that often become embedded in popular opinion, regardless of their lack of scientific or factual basis. Visit www.redmeatgreenfacts.com.au
Weather-related websites and apps deserve a top ten list in their own right (for a taste of more check out this list at climatekelpie.com.au), but among a diverse range of options this iPhone and iPad app certainly ranks as one of the most useful. It allows users to interrogate climate records dating back 60 years for their local postcode to find answers to questions such as what is the chance of a rainfall event based on ‘x’ amount of rainfall over ‘y’days; how does the current season compare with previous seasons in terms of rainfall, temperature, heat sum or radiation; what is the current ENSO status based on key atmospheric and oceanic indicators? etc. It provides instant access to current climate data for a specific postcode and long-term historic records. The free app was developed for the Managing Climate Variability Program which is supported by five rural research and development corporations including MLA. View in iTunes here
Ask an Aussie Farmer (Facebook):
Ask an Aussie Farmer is an idea grown by real Aussie farmers to ensure that anyone who has queries about how food and fibre is produced can have their questions answered by the very people who produce it. A network of passionate volunteers from around the country and overseas round up answers to questions, while the aptly named “paddock rules” ensure that at times robust debates never get out of hand. “We are a group that is passionate about Australian farming, with expertise and first-hand knowledge across a broad expanse of agriculture in Australia, including access to experts and professionals,” the organisers explain. “We reside all over this country and some even live far away from our shores but are still involved in the diverse industries of Australian agriculture. The reason for hosting this page is so those that live, breathe, know, and are enthusiastic about Aussie Ag can answer your questions and tell their stories.. “ Go to Facebook and search for Ask an Aussie Farmer, or click here to view
Australia’s national soil databases can now be accessed in real time online through this new free iPad app. SoilMapp provides open access to the most up-to-date information for soil at any location in the country within a matter of seconds. Information such as soil depth, acidity, salinity, soil carbon, soil water holding capacity and other attributes will help land managers, farmers and graziers and rural advisors make on-the-spot decisions about how to more effectively manage their land. This mobile device technology will deliver detailed scientific information on soils directly into the hands of farmers, rural consultants and agronomists and anyone else with an interest in what’s happening beneath their feet. SoilMapp is the first app developed by CSIRO and was launched in December. Click here to view in iTunes
Beef Essentials/iBeef app:
From producers to processors through to retailers, Australia’s beef industry goes to great lengths to ensure that by the time their product reaches the end-consumer, it is of the highest possible quality. But what if the customer can’t cook? This free MLA funded and developed iPhone app instantly equips everyone from backyard barbecuers to would-be masterchefs all they need to know to cook the perfect steak or beef meal at home. The Beef Essentials app helps customers to choose the best cut of beef for their barbecue, roast, stir-fry or casserole, with in-built cooking timers with reminders at key times. It also offers hundreds of different cooking methods for beef and provides the answer to the ago-old question – 'how to cook the perfect steak'. The Beef Essentials app also includes a diagram of a beef carcase that pinpoints where different cuts are located, and allows users to save and name their favourite selections. The Beef Essentials app is free and available from the Apple iTunes store, click here to visit in iTunes.
You Tube – Dodge Ram
“And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer… So begins this Dodge Ram commercial which aired during the recent US Superbowl (gridiron grand final), which attracts the biggest mainstream audience of the US television-viewing year. The ad, funded by Dodge itself, uses images of US rural life with words from a 1978 delivery of the poem “God Made a Farmer” by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey to pay homage to farmers. For all the kicks agriculture receives, this profound show of support for farmers on prime-time television has won many fans throughout agricultural circles, evidenced by the extent to which it has been shared and retweeted on social media networks in recent weeks. (And if you’ve been counting, you’re right, this instalment takes our “top ten” list to 11, we didn't want to leave one out!) Click on image above to watch the video.
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