Despite all the challenges that farmers face today, I remain extremely optimistic about the future of agriculture. It will take more than the incredibly hard work of farmers, however, to continue to generate the food that our country and the rest of the world rely on. It will also require meeting the need for expanded access to rural broadband, which farmers need now more than ever.
Farmers manage a multitude of issues in any given year. Many of them, such as short planting times, weather disasters such as flooding, and commodity market changes are mostly out of their control. They are tasked with efficiently and sustainably growing food for 7.7 billion people around the world, with a projection to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, according to United Nations data—on a planet with a fixed amount of arable land and finite resources.
Resilience and farming go hand in hand. If anyone can achieve the impossible, a farmer can. The reason for my optimism is that farmers are continuing to push the envelope of technology and are becoming technology power users. As devoted stewards of their land and entrepreneurial problem-solvers, farmers have embraced cutting-edge technologies to operate smarter, more efficiently, and more precisely to obtain the greatest yield at the highest quality despite the high-stakes variables in their line of work. This broad array of technologies and solutions is often referred to as “precision agriculture.”