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Category: Agriculture

Secretary Perdue Heads to Denver to Talk to NTCA!

Secretary Perdue Heads to Denver to Talk to NTCA!

I was so excited to get the phone call from USDA Secretary Perdue’s team to share that indeed he was going to make time on his busy schedule to join us in Denver at the end of this month to share his thoughts about the role broadband plays in the life of farmers, ranchers, ag producers and rural America in general. It will be a treat to have a Cabinet Secretary with us at our Fall Conference. USDA has been…

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Big Sky Country – A lot of Land, Not A lot of People

Big Sky Country – A lot of Land, Not A lot of People

I was delighted to be invited by Geoff Feiss, head of the Montana Telecommunications Association, to come out to join his meeting this past week in beautiful Big Sky Country to share some thoughts and perspective on what is taking place in Washington DC and in the telecom industry generally. I seldom turn down a trip to such a beautiful part of our country…and am always stunned by the vast swaths of land with few inhabitants while I am making…

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Rural Partners Gather

Rural Partners Gather

I’ve always been a little envious of the annual gathering that has been held between NRECA (the electric coops), CFC/RTFC, NRTC, and NISC as they compared notes on the status of their respective industries – electric power, lending and technology solutions – and was delighted to be “invited to the party” this year.Vern Dosch, CEO of NISC kicked off our day with a reminder on how key each of our industry segments are to the future growth and vitality of…

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USDA Event

USDA Event

Yesterday, Michael Daniels (one of our many rock star advocates on the team and former USDA staffer) and I attended an event at USDA that was hosted by the Wall Street Journal.  While the details of the event were a tad fuzzy, I’m never one to turn down an invitation to hear what is top of mind for Secretary Perdue.  It wasn’t until we were in the cab and the latest iteration of the invitation was sent that we saw…

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Hurray for Congress Moving a Farm Bill

Hurray for Congress Moving a Farm Bill

Every five years, Congress renews its priorities to agriculture and rural America by passing a farm bill with all the rural development and agriculture programs under the purview of USDA. The existing legislation funded programs through 2018 and the clock was literally ticking as the 115th Congress winds down here in Washington, D.C. A collective sigh went out this afternoon as an agreement was reached and the Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill Conference report by a vote of 87-13…

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#AgOutlook and Rural Prosperity

#AgOutlook and Rural Prosperity

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…

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National Farmers Day

National Farmers Day

October 12 was National Farmers Day and it recalled for me the time an NTCA member was making a passionate plea with a Hill staffer on the role that broadband plays in rural America and how that use of technology  feeds into a more robust agriculture economy.  He was stopped in his tracks when the staffer informed him that most of what he was saying was irrelevant because food actually comes from a store. Hmmmm.  It sounds like there is…

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USDA Secretary Perdue Calls “Cutting Red Tape” Discussion

USDA Secretary Perdue Calls “Cutting Red Tape” Discussion

I was finally able to meet our new USDA Secretary Perdue today at his roundtable “rap session” that he and his team had pulled together for today to talk about how to cut red tape at USDA and “liberate America from bureaucracy.”  The Secretary reiterated the White House’s commitment to find ways to streamline processes and eliminate excess regulation in an effort to create jobs and generate economic growth.  All of that is good news for rural America if things…

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Got to Love Sioux Falls!

Got to Love Sioux Falls!

I am traveling back from the Regional Conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this week.  The location is ideal given the key leadership role that Senator Thune, local boy gone to Washington, has played in communications policy and his continued active engagement in meeting the challenge of rural broadband deployment.  One of the things I love about this region is that the turn-out is as strong as it is for our “more tropical” locations for these meetings in the Southeast….

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“Make the Dirt Talk”

“Make the Dirt Talk”

What a treat it was on Friday to reconnect with Billy Tiller, former board member for Five Area Telephone Cooperative in Muleshoe, Texas, who served on the board when he was right out of school for 12 years – during some really informative times in this industry. Billy then went on to not only run a large ranch in Texas, but he also started AgPro Exchange, a company that uses data to manage agriculture interests in the 21st Century.  With…

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