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Category: Agriculture

Bidding 2019 a Fond Farewell

Bidding 2019 a Fond Farewell

The end of the year is upon us, and as I sip eggnog and munch on potato latkes, it’s also an excellent time to reflect on the year to which we will soon be bidding a fond farewell. This year had an exciting start with the FCC issuing its landmark Universal Service Order in late 2018. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai joined us at the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & Expo (RTIME) in New Orleans to help celebrate the network investments…

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‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

It feels like we’re all trying to cram in a month of activity in the next 48 hours as the holidays are upon us and time has run short. Holiday shopping? I have been so much less thoughtful on this front than is typical for me as I realize that without Amazon Prime, I might be light- handed for Chanukah and Christmas. Congress seems to be feeling that same sense of pressure but in their closing hours did some pretty amazing…

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USDA’s New Broadband Program Bringing Service to Rural America

USDA’s New Broadband Program Bringing Service to Rural America

NTCA was very excited to support USDA’s new ReConnect grant, grant and loan program when it was voted into existence by Congress and implemented by the team at RUS. However, I’m not going to lie, when the first grants out of the box were distributed to an electric utility and municipality, I became a tad concerned that the RLECs were going to be cut out of the process given that they have been doing the job already of building networks…

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Talking Broadband With Land O’Lakes

Talking Broadband With Land O’Lakes

Rural broadband access has been a widely debated topic in Washington DC over the last couple of years as policymakers – local and national – have woken up to the fact that there are still a number of citizens in one of the most developed nations in the world that do not have connectivity where they live or work or raise their families. What was gratifying today was having a discussion with a Fortune 500 CEO, Beth Ford, leader of…

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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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