Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on June 17 announced formation of a new agency task force aimed at putting more broadband service to work to advance precision agriculture.

The Task Force for Reviewing Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States will be comprised of farmers, ranchers, and broadband providers, and will advise the FCC on policy changes related to agricultural land. The end-goal is to improve connectivity so agriculture producers can “use and benefit from precision agriculture.”

The FCC noted that the task force, which is born out of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, will partner with the Department of Agriculture to “develop policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband Internet access service on unserved agricultural land.”

“As I’ve traveled the country, I’ve seen the amazing efficiencies, innovations, and improvements that high-speed Internet brings to today’s farms and ranches,” said Pai. “This is the present and the future of American agriculture, and we must do whatever we can to support these producers and enhance precision agriculture.”

The FCC is currently seeking nominations for the 15-member task force and is looking for agricultural producers, representatives of tribal agriculture, internet service providers, the electric cooperative industry, the satellite industry, precision agriculture equipment manufacturers, state and local governments, and representatives with relevant expertise in broadband network data collection, geospatial analysis, and coverage mapping. Nominations for membership must be submitted to the FCC by July 17, 2019. More information on the nomination process and requirements is available from the FCC.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.