FCC ISSUES NEW REPORT "IMPACT OF BROADBAND PENETRATION ON U.S. FARM PRODUCTIVITY"
Jan. 4, 2021
Increased availability of high-speed internet in rural areas can help boost crop yields and lower fertilizer, seed, and fuel costs, according to a Federal Communications Commission study.
The report, "Impact of Broadband Penetration on U.S. Farm Productivity," drew from FCC and Department of Agriculture county-level data on field crops like corn, cotton, hay, and soybeans.
The report found that a 1% increase in the number of high-speed internet connections (service speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (mbps) download and 3 mbps upload) per 1,000 households would lead to a 3.6% increase in corn yields and 3.8% increase in soybean yields.
The use of precision ag techniques with high-speed internet service allows farmers to reduce their use of fertilizer and pesticides, potentially reducing farmers' costs and environmental impact. More precise applications of nitrogen fertilizer can reduce emissions of nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, from fields.
The report said a 1% increase in internet connections would lead to a 6.5% decline in fertilizer expenses per operation and a 3.4% decrease in seed and plants expenses per farm.
"A constant theme I've heard is the boost in productivity that comes with the use of precision agriculture and other broadband-based technologies," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
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