AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative convened a panel discussion about rural broadband infrastructure and the need for enhanced connectivity on the farm featuring leading industry figures and broadband end-users to launch its 2018 event series.

Ag Sector Board member and AGCO North America Vice President of Aftersales, Customer Support, & Distribution Development Bill Hurley led a discussion about one of the most critical policy issues in rural America on Tuesday at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California.

Hurley moderated the discussion on the Successful Farming main stage, which featured perspectives from fellow panelists Trimble Senior Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry, and Positioning Services Darryl Matthews, CNH Industrial Industry Relations Manager Dan Danford, Agri-Pulse Communications President Sara Wyant, and Brandon Hunnicutt, a Nebraska corn, soybean, and seed corn producer.

The panel explored the issue of rural broadband infrastructure from a variety of angles, discussing the obvious benefits not only to farm productivity and increased yields, but also for data transmission speed and capacity, impacts on autonomous capability, and implications for conservation efforts. Panelists also discussed the deployment challenges rural communities face in attracting broadband providers as well as possible solutions.

At the end of the panel, Hurley issued a call-to-action to attendees to urge their members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018, an important piece of rural broadband legislation. AEM, in conjunction with member companies and the Agriculture Broadband Coalition, has been working to advance this legislation on Capitol Hill.

“This was a prime opportunity to engage attendees at one of the largest U.S. agriculture industry gatherings of 2018 on the important issue of cropland and ranchland connectivity,” said AEM Director of Infrastructure Policy Kate Fox Wood. “The subject matter expertise offered by our panelists made a strong case for why the entire agriculture community – from producer to the equipment industry – should be proactive in educating members of Congress about how critical enhanced rural broadband infrastructure is for a healthy agricultural economy.”

In support of AEM advocacy efforts, Infrastructure Vision 2050 will continue to sponsor thought leadership events that emphasize the important relationship between rural broadband infrastructure and connectivity on the farm.

Full audio of the panel is available here.

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