FCC Steps Up Support of Agricultural Technology With $1 Billion Proposed for Precision Agriculture

Arent Fox

Arent Fox

Task Force to Adopt Reports at Next Meeting in October

Substantial funding for precision agriculture is anticipated as part of FCC 5G Fund to support next generation wireless services.

FCC Commitment to Precision Agriculture and Anticipated Funding

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking increasingly dramatic action in support of “precision agriculture” technologies and issues. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency “must play a constructive role in promoting these efforts and supporting investment in high-speed Internet in ways that specifically help precision agriculture.”

To that end, FCC Chairman Pai has proposed a $9 billion 5G Fund to support next-generation wireless services, which is proposed to include $1 billion specifically targeted toward precision agriculturesee FCC Public Notice here.

Adoption of Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force and Current Task Force Members

The FCC has established a “Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force” which is divided up between working groups to focus on four areas of importance. The four working groups consist of the following:

  • Mapping and Analyzing Connectivity on Agricultural Lands
  • Examining Current and Future Connectivity Demand for Precision Agriculture
  • Encouraging Adoption of Precision Agriculture and Availability of High-Quality Jobs on Connected Farms, and
  • Accelerating Broadband Deployment on Unserved Agricultural Lands.

In March, Chairman Pai appointed Working Group members to serve on the Task Force. The Task Force members, identified here, include representatives from working farms, agricultural associations and technology manufacturers, universities, utilities, Native American groups, and the telecom industry.

The Task Force meets from time to time, with the last meeting held in July. A video recording of this most recent meeting can be accessed here.

The Task Force’s Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Task Force has just been scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, 2020, beginning at 9:30 am EDT – see the FCC’s public notice here.

At the next meeting (which can be viewed on the Internet via a live feed from the FCC’s web page at www.fcc.gov/live), the Task Force will:

  • Consider and vote on reports from its Data and Mapping, Examining Current and Future Connectivity Demand for Precision Agriculture, and Encouraging Adoption of Precision Agriculture and Availability of High-Quality Jobs on Connected Farms working groups.
  • Discuss the progress of its other working groups.

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