Farmers hope broadband order will help improve business


During a speech in Nashville on Monday, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders that promised farmers better technology to do business.

High-speed internet will do much more than help Americans get online quicker.

Families in rural areas have complained for years that they have to drive into the city to get online to finish school work.

With advances in technology, it's become even more than that. Farmers say the internet helps them do their work faster and more efficiently and keeps food prices down.

Tennessee's rich farming community looks a lot different than it did 50, even 20, years ago.

Those same strong hands that work the fields also need to be quick on a keyboard or an iPad.

"The advancement in technology of what has taken place on the farm is incredible," said Lee Maddox with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Association.

Maddox touts the strides being made in precision agriculture.

Today, farm tractor GPS systems are used for farm planting, field mapping, soil sampling and crop scouting. These are all features that would not be possible without high-speed internet.

"I myself have personal issues and very costly issues dealing with data transfer," said Kevin Krentz, who is a farmer from Wisconsin.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, stood next to Trump when he signed the executive order.

"This is about solving that problem and getting them connected to 21st-century services, and I am thrilled," Blackburn said.

She says the legislation will tackle the cost, which is the biggest barrier to rural broadband.

The president's plan encourages private-public partnerships to bridge the digital divide.

The order comes about one year after Gov. Bill Haslam announced the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act. He promised $45 million over three years in grants and tax credits for service providers.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



Liz Lohuis joined the News4 team as a general assignment reporter in January 2016.

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