Rural broadband

Rural broadband projects get $500 million in USDA funding

The Biden administration announced a half a billion dollars in grants and loans for high-speed internet projects in rural areas from Alaska to Alabama on Thursday, with more awards expected soon. The 2021 infrastructure bill set aside billions of dollars for broadband access, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “We now have, genuinely, an opportunity to cover all of rural America.”

Broadband projects in 21 states get USDA financing

The USDA has awarded $401 million in grants and loans to 21 projects in 11 states, from Alaska to Texas, to provide residents and businesses with access to high-speed internet service, announced the Biden administration on Thursday.

Poor or no internet for 3 in 10 of largest U.S. farmers

A sizable portion of America's largest farmers "are unable to take advantage of many applications and services" on the internet because they don't have a connection or it is of poor quality, said a Purdue University survey released on Tuesday. The gap in access exists at the same time the sector is embracing precision agriculture technology such as GPS guidance of tractors and combines.

USDA to spend up to $1.15 billion on rural broadband

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday that the USDA would spend up to $1.15 billion to bring high-speed internet services to people living in rural communities. The money would be available in loans and grants to providers who offer service with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second in areas that lack high-speed internet.

Heartland embraces precision agriculture practices

Half of the farmers in the biggest corn, soybean, and wheat states employ precision agriculture in their operations — from GPS guidance of tractors and combines to deploying drones to scout fields or monitor livestock — twice the national average, said a USDA report on computer usage on Wednesday. Far more farms have a cellular internet connection than broadband; 18 percent have no internet access at all.

Infrastructure package has $65 billion for broadband

The infrastructure agreement announced by a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday would expand broadband access to all Americans, according to the White House. An estimated 35 percent of rural families currently lack high-speed internet service.

USDA awards $167 million for broadband access

Projects in 12 states will receive a combined $167 million in USDA grants and loans to deploy broadband infrastructure in parts of rural America lacking sufficient access to high-speed internet service, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.

House committee approves $43 billion rural broadband bill

On a voice vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to provide $43 billion over eight years to bring broadband service to hundreds of thousands of families and businesses that lack access now. Chairman David Scott said Democratic leaders were "looking to move this in an expeditious way to the Senate."

House chairman proposes $50 billion for rural broadband

The government would spend $50 billion to assure broadband access throughout rural America under a bill sponsored by House Agriculture chairman David Scott, seven times the amount proposed by Republicans on the panel. Scott scheduled a committee vote on his bill for Wednesday. “This bill will …

Biden says no to higher gas taxes to pay for infrastructure

If a bipartisan infrastructure deal holds, Midwesterners can expect upgrades to roads, bridges and broadband networks, President Biden said on Tuesday in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. "There is no gas tax (increase)," he said. "Working families have already paid enough."

Infrastructure framework has $65 billion for universal broadband

President Biden said the $1.2-trillion infrastructure package negotiated with senators on Wednesday will "deliver high-speed internet to every American home" as well as repairing or rebuilding roads and bridges nationwide.

Former Rep. Torres Small is selected to lead rural development at USDA

President Biden chose former Rep Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico to serve as agriculture undersecretary for rural development, overseeing a portfolio of $43 billion in housing, utilities and business and industry programs. Congress overrode a Trump-era reorganization of USDA to re-create the Senate-confirmed post in 2018.

House bill proposes more than $7 billion for rural broadband

Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday proposed a three-year program with $7.35 billion in funding to bring broadband access to rural America. The bill would focus on the most remote and least served areas.

To tax wealth, Biden would narrow ‘stepped-up basis’ loophole

President Biden proposed stricter application of capital gains taxes, potentially generating billions of dollars in federal revenue, on Wednesday by restricting use of the decades-old "stepped-up basis" that reduces liability on inherited property. Although the White House said it would not increase taxes on heirs who want to keep the family farm running, the largest U.S. farm group was skeptical that the protection could be fashioned into law.

Bringing broadband to all rural Americans could cost up to $150 billion

President Biden proposed $100 billion in his infrastructure plan to make high-speed internet available throughout America, but industry officials said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday that it could cost up to $150 billion to fill the gaps in coverage in rural America, where service is …

Calls for rural broadband and climate mitigation as pandemic aid hits $24 billion

Rural communities “must have access to broadband” to succeed and climate mitigation provides an opportunity for rural jobs, said a letter drafted for House Agriculture Committee approval on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the USDA said it has paid $24 billion in pandemic relief to farmers and ranchers …

Big increases for rural power, WIC, ag research in Biden proposal

Most of the increased spending proposed by President Biden for USDA's so-called discretionary accounts would go to three things: Rural electricity, WIC and agricultural research. If approved by Congress, the money would accelerate the shift to cleaner electricity, help low-income families put food on the table and, as part of climate mitigation, find ways to verify carbon sequestration and greenhouse-gas reduction on the farm, said the White House.

After Covid’s chill, a hot recovery is at hand

The U.S. economy could grow at its fastest rate — 7 percent — in nearly four decades, with the farm sector sharing in the energetic recovery from the pandemic, said CoBank on Thursday. "Many in the agricultural industry are experiencing the best market conditions since 2013," said the lender in a quarterly assessment of the sector.

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