USDA inspectors get phase one of PC and connectivity support

USDA inspectors get phase one of PC and connectivity support

By Tony Lee Orr

The Agriculture Department has completed the first phase of a plan to put notebook PCs and database connectivity into the hands of its field staff.

Officials working on the nationwide implementation of the Field Automation and Information Management initiative last month completed a five-year effort to enhance productivity, quality and services for both inspection and administrative processes among meat and poultry inspectors, officials said [GCN, July 26, 1999, Page 60].

USDA workers are using more than 4,000 notebooks, ranging from the Gateway Solo 2000 to the Solo 2500LS.

Each system has a 13.3-inch XGA color screen, a 333-MHz Pentium II processor, 120M of RAM, a 6.4G hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, a floppy drive with a 120M Imation SuperDisk drive and a 56-Kbps modem. All have e-mail capabilities.

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

A searchable database lets inspectors quickly look through agency notices, directives and regulations from the field, officials said.

And state inspectors are learning as well: Over the past 20 months, 73 percent of state meat and poultry inspectors have begun participating in the program. Some 1,000 notebooks have been delivered to state programs, and 1,000 inspectors have undergone training, officials said.

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