Co-ops Can Lead the Way for On-Farm Private Broadband


As American agriculture grapples with scarce labor and increasing costs, one solution could lie in precision agriculture applications that can maximize output while reducing costs. Crop and livestock producers can supercharge operational efficiency with advanced precision technologies such as data analytics, connected equipment, robotics and automation. The lack of affordable, reliable broadband access in rural America, however, has hindered widespread adoption of precision ag technologies. That may be changing with the increasing availability of private wireless networks. CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange reports agricultural cooperatives are in an ideal position to work with communication companies to deliver carrier-grade, high-speed private wireless networks to their farmer members at costs that were unthinkable just a few years ago. CoBanks Kenneth Scott Zuckerberg says, “Offering these network solutions could be a new, reliable revenue source for U.S. farm supply cooperatives.” On the farm, private networks can help facilitate the collection, transmission, storage and computation of large amounts of data in real-time.