Hance Tapped For FCC Work Group

Published on Monday, April 13, 2020 in Community

Precision Farming

The Federal Communications Commission recently announced four working groups to serve on the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force, and Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) President/CEO Bob Hance was appointed to the Encouraging Adoption of Precision Agriculture and Availability of High-Quality Jobs on Connected Farms group. The announcement was made on March 13 by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, in consultation with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Precision agriculture involves computerized, connected technologies that bring greater efficiency to farm tasks like seeding, fertilizing, applying herbicide, and watering, resulting in higher production and less waste. Chairman Pai said he is targeting $1 billion for precision agriculture from a proposed $9 billion 5G Fund to support “next generation wireless services.”

“The FCC must play a constructive role in promoting these efforts and supporting investment in high-speed internet in ways that specifically help precision agriculture,” Pai said.

Hance hopes this work for the commission “results in broader and wide-spread adoption of farm technologies that fundamentally improve the outcomes for rural farmers and ranchers and makes it possible to continue to increase yields, improve efficiencies and meet the ever-increasing demand for production.

“In reality, all this can’t happen until real progress is made with extending true, robust and reliable internet to the rural parts of this country.”

MEC was an early leader in deployment of rural broadband and is one of four co-ops across the country with more than 10,000 subscribers. The co-op is leveraging its electric grid infrastructure to extend fiber internet to its rural customers. The five-year southwest Michigan deployment began in 2015, and construction efforts are now focused on the southeast Michigan territory.