Ag BoadbandAEM encourages equipment manufacturers interested in serving on a newly created task force tasked with helping shape policy associated with rural connectivity to reach out for potential inclusion.

When President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law last December, he kicked off the implementation process for the Ag Broadband Coalition (ABC) led Precision Ag Connectivity Act (PACA). PACA directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to work with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to form a task force to identify gaps in in-field wireless coverage and provide policy recommendations to fill them.  

PACA’s passage represents an important victory in changing the way policy makers view rural connectivity, in getting them to think beyond wiring fixed locations with fiber. However, this success must be followed up with the proper implementation of the legislative language’s intent. ABC, which AEM co-chairs with the American Farm Bureau Federation, is in the process of working with the FCC and USDA to help facilitate their cooperation and provide advice on the development of the task force.

A critical first step will be ensuring the task force is made up of a diverse group of representatives that understand modern production agriculture and equipment, and not the “usual suspects” of telecom policy wonks. While AEM will not advocate for specific companies to be a part of the task force, the association will be pushing hard to ensure equipment manufacturers are well represented and want all interested AEM members to have the information they will need to put themselves forward for consideration.

Those interested in serving on the task force are encouraged to reach out to AEM Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Ag Policy Nick Tindall (ntindall@aem.org, tel: 202-898-9067).

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