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Posted on Mar 30, 2020 in Audio, Editorial, Featured, Your Texas Agriculture Minute




The flow of technology in rural America

By Gary Joiner

Farmers such as Scott Savage of Matagorda County are still farming. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, but working the land is not one of them.

Savage is a fifth-generation Texas rice farmer. When isolation efforts to contain the virus began, his main concern was the ability to obtain water for his fields from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). Would technology be able deliver water, even while LCRA’s employees worked remotely.

The answer is yes. Electronic pumps, water gates and other equipment had been installed a few years ago. Technology can deliver the water he’ll need to grow this year’s crop for next year’s food.

Unfortunately, technology is still not flowing in some parts of rural America.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it is trying to help. The agency is freeing up spectrum in nearly 30 states to improve connectivity and help close the digital divide.

Thirty-three wireless internet service providers will use the spectrum for 60 days through a special temporary authority.

It’s a start, but more work remains. FCC data shows that 26.4 percent of rural Americans lack access to broadband, compared to only 1 percent of urban Americans.

America’s farmers and ranchers embrace technology that allows their businesses to be more efficient, economical and environmentally-friendly. Access to broadband is key to the technology benefit.

Let’s hope that signal is soon strong for everyone.

The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.

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