Broadband is vital to America’s farmers and ranchers to support their livelihood, manage agricultural operations, and in turn, feed America. Agricultural Internet of Things (IoT) devices operating with broadband connectivity are giving farmers the capability to cultivate their land more efficiently. Agricultural technology monitors water supply and soil quality, maintains precision by monitoring crop production, minimizes crop damage, forecasts weather, and gathers real-time data for best times to plant and harvest.
Studies show there will be approximately 525 million farms globally by 2020. By 2025, an estimated 600 million sensors will be in use on these farms, and by the year 2035, there will be more than three times the growth in sensor usage than in 2020. By 2050, there will be two billion sensors, increasing food production by 70 percent, with the ability to feed up to 9.6 billion people.
Broadband also allows agricultural industry workers to communicate with customers, follow commodity markets, and increase the effectiveness of food safety, pest control and livestock management. Of course, these sophisticated technologies rely on broadband connectivity. Fortunately, the Federal Communications Commission is working to bridge the digital divide with several programs including the Universal Service Fund, the Connect America Fund II auction, the ‘Dig Once’ initiative, and tax incentive programs and regulation that boosts broadband deployment. USTelecom will continue working with policymakers to ensure a regulatory environment is in place that fosters innovation, investment and deployment to all corners of the nation.