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    5 Reasons Why Wireless Access Is Integral To Agriculture

    I just finished reading a short article in Fast Company that discussed President Obama's push to make Wi-Fi more accessible to rural areas throughout the United States. I applaud this initiative and hope it gets the support it needs on The Hill.

    In today's world of agriculture access is critical. Making the right decision is crucial to continued farm profitability. One sub-par choice like entering a field when it's to wet, planting to early, or applying fertilizer to late/early can heavily impact the bottom line in the downward direction. This is bad for the companies providing custom services to the farmer, bad for the farmer(s) who work tirelessly to supply us with food, feed, fuel, and fiber and can also be bad for the consumers if this leads to further consolidation in the marketplace led by decreased competition. Here are 5 reasons I think Wi-Fi everywhere is good for agriculture.

    1.) Access Information Anywhere - We all know that farmers are traveling more and more to spread the word about the benefits of a healthy agriculture system. And crops are not malleable in their timing. When it is time to plant, it is time to plant. When it it time to do anything related to crop production, it is time and the window of opportunity is small. So having access for the on the go farmer is of utmost importance. Being able to hop on the web with a smart device will allow farmers to obtain the information they need to make the best decision for their farming activities

    2.) Knowledge Sharing - With the rise of social media, more and more farmers are sharing information about their activities. This "real-time" sharing of information is helping other farmers throughout the growing season make better decisions and plan for future activities. For example, if you know a heavy rain is coming because Jim just posted a tweet, sent you a text message, or posted it on the social web, then you can plan accordingly and move your equipment where it needs to be.

    3.) Agvocating - As we all know, the conversation about food has been elevated to a place where everyone is engaged. As such, there is a ton of misinformation out there. Having ubiquitous access to the web will allow farmers and ranchers to share their story not only from the office, but the field as well. Consumers want to know where their food comes from and who produces it. A direct connection to the farmer, even virtually, will enhance the trust between consumer and farmer and help build this much needed bridge

    4.) Small Business Growth - We all know the the lifeblood of economies around the world is the small business. And the days of desktop applications are numbered. There are already a number of companies looking at their web-based strategy as well as a number of start-ups utilizing the web to deliver their service (shameless plug - My start-up is doing this). Increasing access to the web allows more companies to provide the level of service farmers and ranchers need to be successful in todays agricultural system as the market increases with increased access to the internet. The larger the market, the more opportunities available for entrepreneurs to form new companies and create more well paying jobs.

    5.) Data Acquisition - It's all about the data folks. Data is what drives decisions, even the absence of data! At this point it is quite difficult to collect all the data we would like, at the resolution we need, to really make data-driven decisions. If we do collect the data, it is cumbersome and very time consuming, not to mention the possibility of errors. The more and more we increase access to the web to transmit data back to a smartphone where decisions can be made, the more profitable a farming operation can become. As OEM's work toward building sensors and telecommunications companies work toward access everywhere, we can work on how this real-time data can be used. Can anyone say agronomic, soil, and weather models? I sure can.

    As I look toward the future, I see multiple data sets being integrated into a service to enable sound business decisions aided by stellar applications delivered over the mobile web.

    What do you see? What benefits to agriculture do you see with increased access to the mobile web? Let us know in the comments.

    Nate J. Taylor
    (814) 441-1867

    Interested in more of my gibberish? You can follow me on Twitter @natejtaylor

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    1. Great post Nate! I agree. I lived in the isolated Mississippi Delta. Luckily I happened to be close enough to the system to get high speed but many friends still live in areas where dial-up is the only option. And quite frankly my niece lives somewhere she still can even get dial-up. How can educational efforts be at all on par? How can rural communities participate in the discussions which shape our future? I sincerely hope this finally gets addressed.

    1. Good morning Janice!

      I hope you are well down in Memphis. We are finally above zero up here in IL. I am thankful for that, although a hot cup of coffee/hot chocolate is awesome by the fire at sub-zero temps.

      I, like you agree that access is critical to educational initiatives and we owe it to our children to be sure this is up to par if not above.

      Here is a great example of what rural communities can accomplish with the right federal, local, and state policy framework in place

      Broadband for everyone!!!!!

    1. Great post! In rural Nebraska we don't get much for wireless coverage and it would be nice to be able to instantly sync our equipment.

    1. Thank You for the compliment Keeton! Nebraska does have access issues. Let's hope the upward trend on access continues.

    1. I think wireless technology is the best, we can access anything, can get in touch easily with this technology

      Name: Deer farming

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    Agriculture passionado! I lead GeoVantage's Sales, Marketing, and Business Development activities. If you haven't explored the benefit of remote sensing for production agriculture, now is the time! Not one to rest, I am also a part of the Memes Associates team where we focus on assisting large companies in the agriculture space to "re-discover their inner entrepreneur" through the introduction of market disrupting technology(s) and services.  

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