By Clint Thompson
The Broadband For Rural America Act, introduced Thursday by Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Republican Leader of the Agriculture Committee, would vastly improve farming operations.
Precision agriculture concepts have become more widespread in their use. They improve the efficiency and profitability of producing and harvesting a crop by working the different parameters that affect that crop’s growth.
These techniques call for broadband access.
“Agriculture today is very sophisticated in terms of science and technology and innovation. If you just look at precision agriculture and the application of precision agriculture, that requires connectivity,” said Thompson. “There’s so much that can be accomplished there in terms of managing both efficiency and productivity.”
Precision Ag Examples
Sensors in the soil can help a farmer determine if irrigation is needed for certain crops. Smartphone apps can help producers determine a specific pest. Improved connectivity would aid in a grower being more farm efficient.
“When you look at what’s happening in precision agriculture, our pivot irrigation systems, they take in a lot of data from moisture meters in the field and they convert that data into putting water where water’s needed and not wasting the energy or the resources where water’s not needed,” said Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA-08).
The Broadband For Rural America Act would provide more than $7 billion in authorizations for USDA broadband connectivity programs. This will empower farm families.
“I think this Broadband For Rural America Act really gives it that emphasis of that front-loading forward investment for the first two years, which leads us right into the next Farm Bill in 2023. We have to reauthorize our programs. It’s a chance to improve them. Refine them. Learn what’s working, not working and continue and complete that progress of ending the digital divide.”