AGCO Rural BroadbandThe technologies farmers are employing in the field and how manufacturers are building more intelligence into their machine offerings were among the topics covered in a rural broadband-themed webinar last month.

AGCO Product Manager Ben Craker was a panelist in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) presentation entitled “How Broadband Is Transforming Agriculture.” He joined the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation's Kevin Hensley and Trish Kelly, managing director of Valley Vision, a Sacramento-based non-profit organization, as featured presenters for the webinar, which was moderated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Katherine Bates.

“We’re starting to get smart connected products, so as equipment manufacturers, we’ve been building a lot more intelligence into our machines in the past several years,” said Craker during the webinar.

The AGCO product manager also touched on the progression of technology in the ag industry toward the “system of systems.” He noted that most of the machines – at least for larger production agriculture – are being produced with some sort of cellular modem or Wi-Fi device built into them, and how connecting these machines with one another will help the ag industry advance in that progression.

In addition, Craker spoke about some of the ways farmers are leveraging these technologies to meet their needs both in and out of the field.

As noted in The U.S. Infrastructure Advantage, rural broadband its a priority of great significance for AEM and its advocacy efforts, and Craker's presentation demonstrates the the greater need for machine connectivity on the farm.

To learn more about what Craker had to say, and to hear from his fellow presenters' thoughts on the topic of rural broadband and its effects on infrastructure, visit There interested individuals can access an audio recording of the webinar, a PDF of the slide presentation and a transcript of the information covered during the one-hour live event.

Broadband USA, NTIA's initiative aimed at finding ways to help communities make sure their citizens have the broadband capacity they need to advance economic development, education, health care, and public safety, holds monthly webinars on broadband topics of interest to policymakers, decision-makers, practitioners and consumers. For more information, visit