Precision Ag Connectivity Bill Moving Forward

Podcast / Newsline July 31, 2018

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Legislation to help farmers stay connected in the field is advancing toward the finish line. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act is included in both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill and was passed as a standalone bill by the House of Representatives last week. The legislation would lead to better connectivity in the field for precision agriculture uses, according to American Farm Bureau Federation Congressional Relations Director RJ Karney.

Karney: The Precision Ag Connectivity Act will direct the Federal Communications Commission [and] the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a task force of public and private sector members for meeting the technology needs of precision agriculture.

Clements: The task force will be responsible for developing specific steps federal agencies can take to address gaps in coverage with a goal of achieving 95 percent coverage of crop and ranch lands by 2025. This will allow more farmers to use precision agriculture technology and be more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly.

Karney: Many of the latest yield-maximizing farming techniques, they do require broadband connections, specifically for data collection and analysis, both performed at the farm level but also at remote data centers. So, this Precision Ag Connectivity Act is critical for farmers and ranchers who want to utilize precision ag technology as a tool in their toolbox.

Clements: Karney says moving the bill across the finish line is becoming more certain.

Karney: Farm Bureau is extremely optimistic that the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act will be signed into law. Rural broadband, it’s a critical pathway for global markets for agriculture and other industries. And, farmers and ranchers, they rely on broadband as another vital tool in the infrastructure to deliver food, fiber and energy across the country.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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