FCC Study Correlates Rural Broadband with Higher Crop Yields

The FCC says more rural broadband means better crop yields
The FCC says more rural broadband means better crop yields (Image credit: Chris Light - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93050675)

Green acres with access to high-speed broadband is the place to be to find increased crop yields.

That is according to a new FCC report from its new Office of Economics and Analytics, which says that the growth of rural broadband has resulted in the growth of crops.

Also Read: White House Makes Rural Broadband a Priority

“Impact of Broadband Penetration on U.S. Farm Productivity" uses both FCC data and key crop—corn, cotton, hay, and soybeans—agricultural productivity data by county to draw the conclusion that increased broadband service has a "statistically significant" effect on lowering costs for fertilizer, fuel and seed and higher crop yields.

The FCC pointed to one example: A 1% increase in broadband connections of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps or better (the current FCC definition of high-speed) per 1,000 households was "associated" with a 3.6% increase in bushels of corn per acre.

Also Read: FCC Invests More in Rural Broadband

“I’ve had the chance to visit many farms and ranches during my time as Chairman, from Renwood Farms in Charles City, Virginia to Crane Farms in King Hill, Idaho," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who hails from rural Kansas. "A constant theme I’ve heard is the boost in productivity that comes with the use of precision agriculture and other broadband-based technologies. This paper confirms these anecdotes, and underscores the importance of the Commission’s top priority of expanding broadband access in rural and underserved areas."

President Donald Trump has pushed rural broadband, citing its impact on agriculture.

The President's American Broadband Initiative, launched last February, was driven in part by the President's desire to help farmers get high-tech connections for precision agriculture.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.