The Power of a Connected Farm
One of the most useful functions of wireless technology is crop production. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the production of row crops and specialty crops are now 30-50% dependent on broadband. Internet solutions offer the ability to automate specific processes, such as fertilization and robotic harvesting. And 5G speeds will enable driverless farm equipment.
In addition, real-time animal monitoring with precision livestock farming (PLF) sensors, is vital in determining the health of a cow, its milk production, and can monitor a pregnancy. Even more useful, sensor tags can keep the farmer abreast of each animal’s specific location and identity. Sensor tags generate a tremendous amount of data from each animal.
In a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an interviewed farmer stated that his 10-year-plan will require a 100 Mbps data connection. That’s the low-end speed of 5G. 100 Mbps is not a bit over-stated for a farm considering small to medium size businesses require 75 Mbps to support five to ten connected employees who share files, use email, and run numerous apps. But currently, the farmer from this report has no way of obtaining anything close to those speeds.
In 2019, 52% of farmers used a smartphone or tablet for business; 26% connected to satellite and 22% by DSL. The FCC projects that between $18-23 billion per year could be realized from digital farming technologies connected by rural broadband.
The key to making 100 Mbps a reality is rural broadband. Rural communities require a combination of middle mile fiber and wireless to bridge the digital divide and bring 5G speeds to farms. Leaving nearly 23.7% of rural America without high-speed internet options is unacceptable.
As populations rise with food prices, we must find immediate solutions to keep our sources growing too. The rise of agriculture technology and precision-farming based on actionable real-time data is key to increasing yields and reducing costs. The UN cites that the world’s population will increase by 2 billion over the next 30 years, reaching 9.7 billion by 2050. Everybody eats. Keeping our food supplies ample and prices reasonable are imperative for a healthy world – its people and its economies.
Let’s stand behind our farmers and believe in a sustainable future. Let’s bring 5G wireless infrastructure to all of America.
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