Some Farmers frustrated as efforts to get broadband to rural areas move slowly

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — When it comes time to fertilize crops, spray pesticides or repair machinery — technology is increasingly vital to farmers.  

“The ones that’s going to be successful are going to be the ones on the cutting edge.”  

Mike McCormick is a Mississippi farmer and President of the State Farm Bureau. In Washington on Wednesday, he delivered a message to lawmakers that in order to survive, his members need access to high-speed internet.  

“Connectivity is going to be a big part of keeping them viable.” 

But efforts to extend broadband connectivity to rural parts of the U.S. are frustratingly slow for farmers and the lawmakers who represent them in Washington. 

Congress allocated $5 billion to aid broadband expansion. But there are major questions about the accuracy of government maps showing which areas are without access.  

“I think there’s a general consensus that the map is wrong.”  

Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker says without accurate maps, the government can’t decide where to spend the money.  

“We don’t need to open that spigot until we know that money is going to be spent in the right places,” said Wicker.  

Wicker says he’s working on a bill to speed up the drawing of more accurate maps. But in the meantime, rural communities continue to struggle.  

“If we want to keep our children coming back to rural Mississippi, we’re gonna have to have connectivity there.” 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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