Director of Agriculture Chinn authors a monthly column in Missouri Ruralist entitled Ag Matters. Below is this month’s column.
JEFFERSON CITY — The old saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” In agriculture, there always seems to be a new challenge just around the corner, so it’s natural for farmers to focus on those signs of hope.
The silver lining of COVID-19 has been the momentum toward connecting our homes, rural and urban, to high-speed internet. Broadband seems to be something we can all agree on, no matter where we live.
Broadband connectivity is essential for Missouri farmers and rural communities. It’s how farmers are able to adopt the latest technology standards on their farms, how schoolchildren can complete homework and how rural families are able to work from home during a pandemic. It’s also important for rural businesses that rely on the internet to make their operations run.
If you live in a rural area, you know that good internet, or internet at all, may be hard to come by. There is a large digital divide between urban and rural areas. However, the most recent FCC Broadband Deployment report shows significant progress with that gap being cut in half since 2016.
On top of that, more than three-quarters of those in newly served areas live in rural communities, bringing the percentage of rural Americans with at least 25 Mbps to nearly 83%.
There have been several recent developments, some Missouri led, helping to expand rural broadband.
To read Director Chinn’s full column, click here!
— Missouri Department of Agriculture
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