Agriculture inspectors now armed with notebook PCs

Agriculture inspectors now armed with notebook PCs

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

NOV. 27—The Agriculture Department has completed the first phase of a program aimed at bringing its field staff into the information age.

Officials working on the nationwide implementation of the Field Automation and Information Management initiative recently concluded a five-year effort to enhance productivity, quality and services for both inspection and administrative processes among meat and poultry inspectors, officials said [see www.gcn.com/vol18_no23/spotlight/272-1.html].

USDA distributed more than 4,000 Gateway Solo notebook PCs. Each system has a 13.3-inch XGA color screen, 333-MHz Pentium II processor, 128M of RAM, 6.4G hard drive, CD-ROM drive, 120M SuperDisk floppy drive and 56-Kbps modem.

Some 5,500 inspectors have been trained to use the computers and associated software applications, officials said.

The computers have made inspectors more efficient by putting information at their fingertips, officials said. A searchable database allows inspectors to quickly look through agency notices, directives and regulations while still in the field, officials said.

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