It was most gracious of USDA to extend an invitation to me to speak at their annual #AgOutlook conference here in the DC area yesterday – particularly with a focus on Rural Prosperity and all that that entails.
I was on their E-Connectivity panel and shared the space with one of the top USDA economists who spend a lot of timing thinking, pondering, measuring and analyzing broadband statistics as well as with a GM of an electric cooperative in Michigan who is also providing retail broadband to their consumers in an area with virtually no independent RLEC providers. It was a great opportunity to share some of our experience in what the challenges and opportunities are in the rural broadband space with a group of rural leaders from across the country who were all interested in the topic.
My favorite moment, however, might have been after my remarks when a group of college students studying ag business, who were there on a special USDA invitation, came up to talk further. This is the generation that really gets it and I loved their energy as they questioned what role they could play in supporting the deployment of more broadband and asking insightful questions about “what is that USF program that you were talking about.?” Conversations like that make me have great faith in our next generation!