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USDA to hold rural broadband forum at FPSUSDA to hold rural broadband forum at FPS

Farmers and rural stakeholders can stop in for a one-hour session Aug. 27 to learn more about efforts to bring broadband to rural areas.

Holly Spangler

August 26, 2019

1 Min Read
rural internet
CONNECTED: “Farmers need reliable, high-speed internet service to achieve the economical, efficient, environmentally responsible ag operations required in the future — and today,” says Doug Wilson, Illinois director for USDA Rural Development. Scharfsinn86/Getty images

USDA Rural Development will host a one-hour information session highlighting rural broadband needs on Aug. 27 during the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.

“We all know getting adequate internet service to rural areas today is as critical for economic prosperity — even survival — as electrification was to our great-grandparents,” says Doug Wilson, Illinois director for USDA Rural Development.

Called “High Capacity Networks on the Farm: Why Ag Operations Need It and How to Get It,” the session will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Aug. 27 in the Main Conference Room at Richland Community College, right next to the Farm Progress Show site.

Wilson says the information session will feature presenters from technology, internet providers, funding sources and more in an effort to get questions answered and build networks with each other.

Speakers include:

  • Brendan Bachman, Growmark senior manager, agronomy technology

  • Matt Johnson, member, Illinois Rural Broadband Association

  • Christopher Collins, USDA Rural Development, rural utilities service gen field rep

“Knowing the technology that is available and coming, how it relates to production and competitiveness, and how networks can be built with the capacity to capture the impact is essential for our agricultural producers and rural communities,” Wilson says. “Farmers need reliable, high-speed internet service to achieve the economical, efficient, environmentally responsible ag operations required in the future — and today.”

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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