A new study from the United Soybean Board shows that broadband Internet access in rural America can improve the sustainability of agriculture. Farmers use the data to inform their operating decisions, including how to make their operation more sustainable, but without a reliable and fast broadband connection, this data is not easily accessible. USB treasurer and Missouri farmer Meagan Kaiser says data is agriculture’s most valuable tool.
âIt gives access to innovative agricultural practices and a more efficient use of resources. For example, using plant nutrients to increase yields without increasing area. Without a reliable connection to the Internet, data collection and further use is severely limited.
The study presents 15 recommendations for providing the high-speed Internet that farmers and rural communities need.
âSome of the recommendations include adopting high performance standards. Performance standards for download speeds and latency should reflect farmers’ changing need for precision farming. Another recommendation was to encourage deep fiber buildup. The development of fiber in rural America will be required to support capable wireless connections for higher bandwidth applications in the field. And finally, fill in the gaps in the mapping of agricultural land. Broadband maps should include mobile coverage over agricultural land with underlying data available to the public.
Kaiser says rural broadband connectivity is urgently needed. A 2019 soybean levy study showed that 60% of American farmers and ranchers did not believe they had adequate internet connections to run their businesses.
âEfforts to integrate data into day-to-day decisions are often thwarted by slow internet speeds, high costs and unreliable service. This study also noted that many farmers do not have another viable option to switch Internet service providers. But broadband access allows farmers to more effectively measure our inputs and outputs, which creates smarter and more sustainable resource management.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed earlier this week by the House provides $ 65 billion for broadband internet.
Source: NAFB News Service