Source: The Bemidji Pioneer

BISMARCK, N.D. — Two farmers have developed a smartphone application to help manage their farms even while they're still sitting on their tractors.

Jacob Fannik of Max, N.D., and Ryan Raguse of Wheaton, Minn., developed Virtual Farm Manager to keep notes, store yield records and sync information with web accounts for computer access.

"The spark behind this came from growing up on a farm," Fannik, who grew up on 2,000 acres about 80 miles north of Bismarck, told the Bismarck Tribune. "A farmer has to get in and out of the tractor, get into the house, make a bunch of calls, be so many places at once and still be behind the wheel of a tractor."

Fannik and Raguse said farmers are increasingly using smartphone technology to manage their land. Their app uses the phone's GPS to track and map equipment as it goes up and down fields planting seeds or spreading fertilizer. It also can let multiple workers simultaneously view activity on a field.

Raguse said there are many variations of this management technology but he doesn't know of any that allow farmers to access it on a cellphone.

"Rather than running around with notebooks all the time, the farmer can just send it back to the computer," he said.

The app is set for an April 15 release for Android phones. The newspaper reports that an iPhone version will follow. The cost will be $65 a month, after an introductory rate.