Need For Rural Broadband Remains Evident

Last week’s Senate Ag hearing was scheduled to focus on a carbon credit tool for farmers, but the conversation eventually turned to one of the biggest struggles for farmers nation wide.

“What this COVID-19 pandemic has really shined a light on is the disparity and access to the 21st century economy; and that’s access to the Internet,” said former USDA official now with Land O’ Lakes, Jason Weller. He told lawmakers that without high speed Internet, farmers would not be able to take advantage of a carbon trading system.

“But you also cannot access tele-medicine outcomes, education opportunities, commerce opportunities for small businesses, and for farmers themselves to market their crops,” Weller added.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue continued to stress that broadband for everyone needs to be a priority for not only the USDA, but everyone at the federal government. The USDA continues to use the telecommunications infrastructure loan and loan guarantee program to invest another $86 million to bring broadband to 17,000 businesses and people in eight states.

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