AFBF: Digital Divide Must Be Closed

It’s a story you hear repeated across the agriculture sector.  Broadband access is very important, if not vital, for farmers in this age of technology.  American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said farmers need access to remain competitive, especially in a struggling agriculture economy.


“It touches agriculture in a big way because we use so many technologies that are available to us — being able to collect the data, being able to move forward and being more productive. We’re able to not just be productive, but we can better protect our environment.”


Duvall said lack of broadband access is not just an issue for farmers, he says the shortfall hits all rural residents.


“The story that you hear about some young families having to take their children to McDonald’s or somewhere where there’s Wi-Fi to be able to finish up their schoolwork, it’s just unreasonable for our rural families to live under those conditions. There’s a lot of areas that need it to improve our quality of life.”


A bipartisan bill before Congress would better identify broadband availability in rural areas.  Mapping would be done in smaller segments to create a clearer picture of which areas of the country are underserved.


“It’s important to do that because they use that data to be able to take the money back to the areas that need to boost broadband. We need a really good picture of what the availability is so that they know how to send those monies.”


Duvall said better broadband access would help farmers be more productive, boost the agriculture economy and make U.S. agriculture more competitive around the world.



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