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Rural America needs greater broadband access

Source: Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have been working diligently to provide rural Americans with greater broadband access.

A look at how dire a need there is for such resources.

Sixty-percent of American farmers report having inadequate access to broadband, according to a recent study. The United Soybean Board recently analyzed broadband access throughout rural America and found poor service deters producers from effectively running their businesses.

Data shows farming contributes to nearly $133 billion of United States gross domestic product. The study indicates lack of connectivity negatively impacts farmers responsible for $80 billion of gross domestic product.

Nancy Kavazanjian, United Soybean Board farmer-leader from Wisconsin, further speaks to the value of broadband access.

“Broadband access and internet connectivity isn’t just about being on Facebook, connecting with friends and making selfies. For farmers, its is about doing business more efficiently, economically and ultimately, more sustainably,” Kavazanjian said.

Technology is a big part of today’s in-cab experience. Cory Atkins, United Soybean Board farmer-leader from Delaware, says farmers need quality broadband access to utilize such technologies. 

“U.S. soybean farmers are constantly striving to be more sustainable. One way we’ve done that is through adopting technology that allows us for more precise data collection. Having that technology is one thing, but being able to use it and analyze it in a timely manner is another,” Atkins said. 

Farmers utilize technology for various tasks, including data collection and record keeping. Kavazanjian says better connectivity will help farmers efficiently complete daily tasks.

“There is a significant number of farmers that don’t have good access to broadband or the internet. That certainly is a big concern because we can’t do the kind of data collection we need to, we can’t look at the maps and do the record keeping. It’s important for us to have that high-speed access in rural areas. We just need that connectivity to be better farmers.”