National Agriculture Week: Broadband Transforms Agriculture - Network:On

National Agriculture Week: Broadband Transforms Agriculture

Broadband Transforms Everything
Published March 14, 2024

Across America, the Internet is transforming economies, connecting communities, and unlocking a better future for all. 

Fifty years ago, the idea of internet-connected farming was unimaginable. But like so many industries, broadband has transformed agriculture – and #AmericasExcellentInternet has enabled the creation of tools and technology that have radically transformed how farmers and ranchers work. 

Long term planning is key to how farmers maximize their yield, grow profits, and drive sustainable agriculture forward. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “A Case for Rural Broadband,” published by the American Broadband Initiative, U.S. farms could generate an additional $18 billion to $23 billion annually if they had high-speed connectivity and adopted the latest technologies.

These are just some of the ways broadband is transforming agriculture:

Precision Farming: Broadband-supported precision farming has allowed farmers to monitor and analyze real-time data on nutrient levels, moisture conditions, diseases, and numerous other factors from anywhere in the world, allowing for improved decision-making and more efficient resource allocation. 

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, access to high-speed internet and the latest technologies could boost profits by $18 to $23 billion annually.

Weather Data: Real-time weather data allows farmers to take preventative measures as needed, which could not be achieved without reliable broadband access.

Market Data: Access to worldwide market data and online marketplaces allows farmers to connect with potential buyers and cut out intermediaries, greatly increasing profitability.

USDA research shows that 23 percent of U.S. farms used the
internet to market their products in 2023.

Artificial Intelligence: New advances in AI-powered farming systems and autonomous machinery will continue to increase production yields, and IoT technologies are quickly becoming the norm across all agricultural sectors. 

The 22 million Americans working in agriculture carry an enormous responsibility and support communities across the globe. However, only 82 percent of farms have internet service in any form and only 25 percent use it for precision agriculture. America’s agricultural workers have not yet been able to embrace the full potential that broadband access can provide because of high access costs and lack of access in many rural areas. 

Luckily, the U.S. Government is embarking on the largest broadband investment in American history through the BEAD program. The billions being invested will help farmers remain competitive and bridge the digital divide between rural and urban America.

As we recognize the hard work of America’s farmers and ranchers during National Agriculture Week, Network:On will continue to shine a light on the benefits of  expanded broadband access – especially for critical industries such as agriculture that make up the backbone of the American economy. 

Connectivity is no longer a siloed industry – broadband transforms everything.