By Tom Ferree
Farmers and ranchers tackle one of the most difficult jobs in our country — and by doing so they’re providing for families across America.
But here’s something to remember the next time you sit down to share a meal with friends or family — “an alarming 60% of U.S. farmers say they do not have enough internet connectivity to run their businesses.”
What would we do if America’s ranches and farms failed one-by-one? Better yet — let’s ask what we can do now to give them the resources they need. This is why bringing high-speed internet (broadband) access to rural areas is not something we can take our time doing. It must be a priority for the country — not tomorrow, but now.
Farmers and ranchers are the nation’s original innovators. They’ve had to be. They’ve had to think outside-the-box to improve crop yields and to survive everything from weather anomalies to bug infestations.
In our modern world, innovation comes in the form of precision ag, weather tracking, automation, and more. Indeed, some of the most unique, new applications of blockchain technology today are found in livestock supply chain management.
The data referenced earlier is from a study released by the United Soybean Board. In that study, upwards of 50 percent of farmers said they want to incorporate tech into their operations but they can’t because of poor connectivity.
There are many reasons this remains a challenge including cost of buildout, lack of competition, and inaccurate broadband maps to tell us where the connectivity gaps are. All of which can be overcome.
It’s time America repays the favor and provides for our nation’s farmers and ranchers by investing in rural broadband expansion. Learn what you can do by heading to connectednation.org and clicking on “Join the Fight.”
(Tom Ferree is the chairman and CEO of Connected Nation.)
*Data from a study released by the United Soybean Board on rural broadband and the American farmer.
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