How to create a paperless farm office

Just like my article on the Top 10 Android Apps for Farmers, this one does not specifically relate to farmers, anyone can benefit from this information. But since I am a farmer, I tend to write things for the benefit of farmers.

Most people would be amazed at the amount of paperwork farmers, and more specifically California Dairy Farmers have to do. We have massive amounts of regulations. And all these regulations require tons of paperwork. It can become overwhelming. Many farmers, like myself, are also engaged in a lot of off the farm activities such as school boards, farm bureau, trade associations, church groups, etc. These activities generally require a lot of reading.

The following information is designed to help farmers use the latest technology to simplify their lives, eliminate paper clutter and lost information, and allow us to spend less time at the office and more time at home. So here it goes.

The Paperless Office in three easy steps:

Step one:
Buy a Fujitsu Scansnap 1500 scanner.

With this scanner you can drop a stack of papers in it, it will scan both sides in crystal clear color directly to a PDF in a matter of seconds. I have one at the dairy and I am now completely paperless. I love this machine almost as much as I love my son.

Step two:
Sign up for is a service that synchronizes files between all your digital devices. Your computer at work, your computer at home, your laptop, your iPad, your blackberry, or iPhone, or Android, everywhere. You simply scan your papers with the scansnap into your dropbox folder and within seconds they are available on all your devices. You can also share specific folders with other people, which is really great for collaboration. This is also a form of backup so your files live in multiple locations. That way, if your office computer dies, all the files are still on your other devices.

Dropbox also allows you to save your other documents like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other PDF files. In fact, you can save any file type you want and access it from anywhere, including the web.

Step three
Get an iPad or Android Tablet
It is a lot easier to read on an iPad than it is on a desktop computer. This is optional but I think your life will be much better for it. Imagine that entire stack of papers on your desk, scanned to a tiny device you can carry with you everywhere, and categorized so you can find whatever you want in seconds.

I have an iPad and Motorola Droid android phone. I view my dropbox documents on both devices but the iPad is much better. The nice thing about having access to them on your phone is that you can email or share documents with people from the phone so you can do it from anywhere.

That’s it. Total elimination of paper in 3 easy steps.

Do you have any suggestions for helping farmers get organized? Let us know in the comments below.

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