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Dairy Strong Bloggers: 6 tech gadgets you can’t live without

Maria Woldt for Progressive Dairy Published on 12 November 2019

There are so many cool tech gadgets that are perfect on the farm, from wearables like smart watches to smart home devices for the home or office. But then there are tech gadgets that don’t get the honors they deserve. Here are six of my favorites.

Smart water bottle

If you are like most people, you struggle to remember to drink enough water. Until I was in a farm meeting where someone’s water bottle “lit up,” I didn’t know that “smart” water bottles were a thing. The Hidrate Spark 3 smart water bottle is under 60 dollars and tracks water intake and glows to remind you to stay hydrated. It also synchs to other devices such as your smartphone or smart watch via Bluetooth. It synchs to most health activity apps too. Drinking enough water is one of the best ways to stay heathy during the winter months, so treat the farmers in your life to this affordable water bottle.

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Wi-Fi cameras

Whether for security, safety or animal care, having Wi-Fi-enabled cameras on the farm is growing in popularity. Farms of all sizes and management philosophies can benefit from camera systems that synch to a smartphone as well as to the farm office computer. Monitor calvings; check on your hospital pen; or make sure everything is going well in the parlor. The uses are endless. There are professional service providers who sell camera systems, but I found some awesome deals (and great quality) at Costco.

Weather station

No one follows the weather like a farmer. And the last few years have included some crazy weather events! The La Crosse professional weather station is affordable and provides the most essential data like temperature, wind speed and direction, rainfall, humidity and so much more. It comes with a stand-alone display for the kitchen or farm office, and it also synchs to an app on your smartphone for data in real time and on the go. This is a must-have for any farmer!

Bluetooth headset

Farmers are always on the phone, so a proper Bluetooth headset is a must. The Platronics Voyager 5200 is around $80 and is very highly rated from multiple sources. The battery life is long, and it has features like hands-free answer and mute. That feature is especially helpful when you have your hands, well, in places where you have your hands on a dairy farm! Another cool feature is its USB adaptor for computers or other devices that are not Bluetooth enabled.

Wireless phone charger case

If you are the type that needs two or more charges just to get through the day, then a phone case charger is for you. The Mophie Juice Pack Access is a phone case and a battery charger in one. The description boasts 76 hours of music playback, 25 hours of talk time, 17 hours of video playback, or 15 hours of web browsing. For under a hundred dollars, you’ll never be stuck with a dead phone during a busy day again.

Instant Pot

Is this a kitchen gadget or a tech gadget? It’s both, and the Instant Pot craze can’t be ignored. This baby cooks fast, saves time and has 48 customizable settings. It’s a 10-in-one cooker with settings for pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, baking and more. I especially love the pressure cook setting that cooks meat from frozen to done in under 20 minutes. The Instant Pot is great for busy farmers who are out here doing our best, living our best life and can’t be bothered to take something out of the deep freeze for dinner.

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Tech gadgets are fun and can help create efficiencies in your life. This Christmas season, don’t forget to unplug and spend quality time with your family, friends, employees and those most important to you. And when the holidays are over, enjoy being hydrated, conducting video surveillance, predicting the weather, talking hands-free, having a fully charged phone forever and cooking a steak in 15 minutes.  end mark

The Dairy Strong Bloggers series is brought to you on behalf of the Dairy Strong conference, Jan. 22-23, 2020, in Madison, Wisconsin. This event focuses on cutting-edge technology, cultural trends and the future of the dairy community. Learn more and register at the Dairy Strong website.

Maria Woldt is the director of member communications and events for the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. She and her husband, Nick, also milk 60 cows in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

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