West Lafayette, IN (April 4, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue took park this week in the Ideas Festival in West Lafayette, Indiana. The festival is being held in celebration of Purdue University’s 150th anniversary. It coincides with Purdue’s Ag Week.
According to the Exponent, the Ag Secretary sat down with Purdue President Mitch Daniels to discuss the importance of educating the public about U.S. agriculture. That includes how expanding broadband access across the country could revolutionize the industry.
“It’s going to take broadband connectivity, not just in the farm houses, but in the fields,” Perdue said. “And that’s why 5G technology is one of the major transformation issues of our time…very similar to what electrification did across the country in the 1930s.”
Connected Nation’s leadership recognizes how important expanding broadband to farming and rural communities is which is why American Farm Bureau President, Zippy Duvall, was asked to join the nonprofit’s Board of Directors in June of 2018. The nonprofit wanted to ensure it was addressing the needs of America’s farmers and ranchers.
Chairman & CEO of CN, Tom Ferree, perhaps, put it best when he said that “farmers and ranchers are America’s original innovators. It is our responsibility to provide them and the millions in their rural communities with the resources they need for the 21st century. We believe that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.”
It’s something Perdue also sees as an ethical issue.
“I’m a firm believer that connectivity issues (lead to) disparity between rural and urban communities,” he said. “There’s a barrier, a fence, leading to sociological issues. We’re talking about immorality here. Is it fair for a family to drive their kid to town to get WiFi in a parking lot to do their homework today?”
Perdue noted that having widespread internet access could lead to the “digitization of agriculture, with more sophisticated and efficient equipment that utilizes sensors and data.”
The Idea Festival wraps up during Purdue’s Homecoming after a year-long celebration.
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