Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

AFBF Promoting Ways to Advance Rural Broadband

News / Newsline April 27, 2021

Credit: Preston Keres, USDA/FPAC / CC0 

The American Farm Bureau Federation is promoting ways to support and develop rural broadband. Micheal Clements shares how you can help.

Clements: Getting broadband developed throughout rural America is a priority for the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF Congressional Relations Director Emily Buckman says rural residents, along with farmers and ranchers, need access to broadband connections.

Buckman: We’ve heard the phrase multiple times, broadband is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. And the pandemic made that even more evident as we had to shift to working remotely, children having to do homework from home, and then even having our doctor’s appointments done via telehealth. Rural broadband is essential for modern agriculture, the farmers and ranchers who grow our food and to the quality of life for rural Americans.

Clements: The American Connection Project, which includes Farm Bureau and is led by Land O’ Lakes, just launched the American Connection Corps.

Buckman: This is a new pilot program which will connect young leaders to their hometown and empower them to become a new class of community leaders focused on connectivity. For a period of two years, the American Connection Corps Fellows will work to increase digital access in their communities by courting local partners to access federal and state resources for broadband access, as well as delivering digital literacy to those members of the community that may not even know how to utilize broadband.

Clements: Rural community members can also help by using the FCC Speed Test app.

Buckman: The network and coverage performance information gathered from the speed test data collected through this app will help to inform the FCC’s effort to collect more accurate and granular broadband deployment data. Its been a major effort to have FCC update their coverage map to ensure federal dollars spent on broadband deployment is accurately targeted to those communities most in need.

Clements: Learn more at Micheal Clements, Washington.

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