Farm bill broadband funding could help local rural communities

GRAVES COUNTY, KY —  Money to bring high speed internet to rural areas: That’s one of the aims of the 2018 federal farm bill. The law gives $600 million dollars in grants to install the high-speed internet infrastructure.

“Technology is driving a lot of what we do,” says Graves County farmer Jed Clark.

Clark has seen agriculture become reliant on the internet. From checking daily commodity prices to looking at crop production on his phone, almost everything he does requires the internet.

While Clark has internet access, that’s not always the case for others who live in rural areas.

Graves County farmer Jed Clark

“You run into incidents to where they aren’t allowed or maybe not allowed, but they don’t have the ability to do certain capabilities in farming because their internet is not as well as others,” Clark says.

The $600 million is very important not only for agriculture, but for everyone who lives in rural America.

“Any time you can allow kids school age — or even adults — to have better access to information is a plus,” says Clark.

Rep. James Comer says most of the money for the grant is intended to go to telephone and electronic cooperatives to offer internet.

“We would love to see it to where we see it help develop broadband, like TVA used to get electricity out to every corner of rural America,” says Comer.

Clark hopes it helps move his industry forward.

“It’s better knowledge of what of what’s going on in your field. We’re not just planting the crop and walking away,” says Clark.

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