OpEd: Technology Drives the Sustainable Practices Needed to Meet 21st Century Food Demand
Late last week, President-Elect Joe Biden named Michael Regan, currently serving as head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, as the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. We welcome his expertise and are looking forward to working with him over the next four years.
With this news, I want to emphasize the importance of sustainability in agriculture. As networks and technology are constantly improving, farmers continue to weigh the use of resources like water, seeds, pesticides and fertilizer against overall cost and output of the farm. As the world’s population continues to grow and water scarcity becomes more of a reality, sustainability will continue to be extremely critical in order to meet global food supply chain demands.
Farmers across the country are in support of sustainability and innovation. However, 14.5 million rural Americans still lack uninterrupted broadband service at sufficient speeds, limiting any technological innovation tools that farmers can use to increase efficiency and sustainability. Both policy and technical challenges have played a role but it’s time that Congress prioritize 5G buildouts in rural America so every American farmer, business and consumer can benefit.
This may come as a surprise to most Americans, but agriculture is an increasingly digital industry. American farmers are innovative, and eager to find new ways to increase productivity while decreasing costs and their environmental footprint. Expanding 5G connections can accelerate the adoption and evolution of new precision agriculture solutions to make farming more profitable, cost-effective, and sustainable.