Deployment of both broadband e-Connectivity and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technology on farms and ranches throughout the U.S. could result in at least $47 billion in national economic benefits every year, according to a new report about broadband and precision agriculture from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the USDA broadband report, “A Case for Rural Broadband,” if broadband infrastructure and digital technologies at scale were available at a level that meets estimated producer demand, the U.S. economy could realize benefits equivalent to nearly 18% of total agriculture production. Of that 18%, more than one-third is dependent on broadband e-Connectivity, equivalent to at least $18 billion in annual economic benefits, which according to the USDA, only high-speed, reliable internet can provide.
USDA and the American agriculture industry have been actively researching the potential upside, feasibility, and usage of Next Generation Precision Agriculture technologies for a few years.
However, according to the USDA, the interdependency of these technologies and broadband e-Connectivity had yet to be evaluated until the report released today. The research examines this symbiotic relationship and quantifies the potential economic benefit of broadband buildout and the complementary adoption of connected agriculture technologies.
Going forward, the USDA said it will be engaged in multiple facets of infrastructure and technology deployment. The agency will also be involved with financing rural capital investments and supporting producers who are exploring which Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies are best suited to improve their operations and serve their customers.
“Broadband and Next Generation Precision Agriculture are critical components for creating vital access to world-class resources, tools and opportunity for America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a prepared statement. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to doing our part to clear the way for nationwide broadband connectivity that will allow the next generation of precision agriculture technologies to thrive and expand.”