LAST ACRE Act would ensure last mile of broadband deployment

Bipartisan legislation that has been introduced in the US Senate would ensure that the last mile of rural acreage can be connected to high-speed broadband.

Kip Eideberg, senior vice president of government and industry relations with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says it will streamline rollout efforts at USDA to farmland, homes and businesses. “We can’t afford to wait any longer.  Farmers and ranchers can’t afford to wait. We, as consumers, can’t wait.  We need this to happen at a much faster pace.”

Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Ben Ray Lujuan (D-N.M) have introduced the Linking Access to Spur Technology for Agriculture Connectivity in Rural Environments (LAST ACRE) Act.

Eideberg says the bill would create a program at USDA’s Office of Rural Development. “It’s meant to ensure that the Department of Agriculture, that’s been diligently on rolling out broadband across the country, that they have the program, the funds and processes, to ensure that the last mile of broadband is deployed.”

Eideberg tells Brownfield if producers could leverage precision technology on their farms, it could increase sustainability and productivity. “Four percent increase in crop production. Seven percent increase in fertilizer placement efficiency and nine percent reduction in herbicide and pesticide use.  What does that mean? Two million acres of cropland avoided due to more efficient use of existing land, and thirty million fewer pounds of herbicide.”

Fischer, a member of the Senate Ag and Commerce Committees, says producers need connectivity to increase yields and employ resources more efficiently.

Lujan, a member of the Senate Ag and Commerce Committees, says the bill will help farms in remote areas have access to next generation farming technology.

The bill is supported by The American Farm Bureau, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Competitive Carriers Association, Ethos Connected, Farmers Union, John Deere, National Corn Growers Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Milk Producers Federation, and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.

Kip Eideberg, senior vice president of government and industry relations with AEM:

  • I live in the only red county in the state of Maine and our county commissioners have actually turned down federal money to expand broadband services. Tax money available for inhabitants to improve their station, no matter if in food production or cutting trees should almost never be held back in such fashion.

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