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Grange President Pitched for FCC Ag Committee

Broadband access group Connect Americans Now (CAN) is looking to grow support for a candidate for the FCC's new Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force--the president of the National Grange. 

President Trump has made it clear that closing the rural digital divide is a key priority, chiefly to help farmers with high-tech agriculture that depends on remote monitoring and sensing. 

"CAN believes Betsy Huber would make a great candidate for the Federal Communication Commission’s newly established Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force," it said in a statement Wednesday (July 17). "Her considerable experience on broadband deployment from serving on Chairman Pai’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, as well as in her work with the National Grange, make her a great fit.” 

The FCC has put out a call for nominations, including ISP representatives, to the 15-member mouthful of a committee, the Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United Sates (TFRCTNPAUS, though the FCC does not suggest that should be its name in second reference).  

In addition to ISPs, the FCC said the task force will include representatives of "Tribal agriculture, internet service providers, the electric cooperative industry, the satellite industry, precision agriculture equipment manufacturers, state and local governments, and representatives with relevant expertise in broadband network data collection, geospatial analysis, and coverage mapping."  

Pai, who is from rural Kansas, said in announcing the committee's creation: “I’ve met the operator of a Kansas feedlot using fiber and wireless connectivity to monitor every cow’s unique in-take. I’ve met an Idaho farmer using everything from an LTE-based soil analysis app to drones to improve productivity and reduce costs on his potato farm. And I’ve seen other farms and ranches from Virginia to California that are using technology to put more and better food on our tables. This is the present and the future of American agriculture, and we must do whatever we can to support these producers and enhance precision agriculture.”