On June 17, the Federal Communications Commission announced a new Task Force for Reviewing Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States, a byproduct of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The task force will work with the FCC and Department of Agriculture to develop policy recommendations for the deployment of broadband access to unserved agricultural land. The FCC is asking for nominations for the 15-member task force by July 17. Specifically, the FCC is looking for representatives from agricultural producers, including representatives of tribal agriculture, internet service providers, the electric cooperative industry, the satellite industry, precision agriculture equipment manufacturers, state and local governments, and individuals with relevant expertise in broadband network data collection, geospatial analysis and coverage mapping.
The task force will prepare for the FCC Chairman annual reports that detail the status of internet access coverage of agricultural land, projected future needs for internet connectivity and steps taken to accurately measure the availability of broadband access on agricultural lands. Task force members must be willing to serve a 2-year term and attend at least 3 one- or two-day plenary meetings per year. Meetings of the full task force will be held at the FCC headquarters in DC. Members also are expected to participate in at least one subcommittee, if established, but those meetings will most often occur by teleconference.
We expect the task force's reports and recommendations will inform the FCC's future policy decisions and rulemaking proceedings. In the past, John Deere, National Grange, Farm Bureaus, Trimble and other precision agriculture advocates have been active in shaping the FCC's decision-making process.
If you are interested in nominating someone from your company to serve on the task force, or if you would like more information about this initiative, please contact one of the below authors.