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View from the Cab: How connected are we?

In what seems to be an always connected world we live in, there are places in rural America that are struggling to even get a decent online signal.

We all know agriculture is a place where we depend on technology for grain and fuel monitoring systems, planting assistance and harvest mapping. Consistency of signals is a must in order to properly transmit data files and market our products.

“All of these needs are coming and let’s develop our rural economy, let’s make connectivity a very high priority,” GROWMARK executive director of government relations Chuck Spencer told me during the recent Farm Progress Show.

USDA funds Rural Development programs in each state and there is a major emphasis being placed on connectivity here in Illinois. Technology not only means agricultural efficiency and crop utilization but also success for rural economies.

“People are connecting the dots between how rural development can take place, labor sources that are available in rural communities that can support business and what we need for agriculture technology,” Spencer adds.

Spencer and I also chatted about the year for GROWMARK, which reflects what we are seeing in agriculture since the company is owned by farmers and works first-hand with them.

“We were down a little in our projected income but we feel very good about the year overall – making our way through a very challenging time.”

As farmers keep facing unpredictability, Spencer wants to make sure crop insurance and good farm policy remains in place to “tide” them over for the next growing season. Prices need to come up for growers and trade agreements need to be concluded, in Spencer’s opinion. He feels these messages are being heard loud and clear in Washington.

GROWMARK is an Illinois cooperative which provides services in agronomy, commercial construction, energy, electronic payment systems, grain systems and other aspects of ag. The Bloomington-based company is owned by local member cooperatives and provides fuels, lubricants, plant nutrients, seed, equipment and grain marketing assistance.

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