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Adelaine re-appointed to FCC’s precision ag connectivity task force

Michael Adelaine
Michael Adelaine

Michael Adelaine, former vice president for technology and safety and professor emeritus of agricultural engineering at South Dakota State University, has been appointed to a third term on a federal task force working to identify the connectivity needs of precision agriculture. 

Adelaine has also been selected as the chair of the Federal Communications Commission’s Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States. Adelaine, who retired from SDSU in 2020, was initially appointed to the task force in December 2019 and to a second term in December 2021. 

The re-chartered task force held the first meeting of its third and final term Jan. 31. The group will continue its work to provide advice and recommendations to the FCC on accelerating the deployment of broadband internet access service on unserved agricultural land to promote precision agriculture. 

Adelaine represents SDSU on the task force, and other members represent ag industries, farmers and ranchers, communication industries and state government. There are 15 members on the task force, so each voice has a chance to be heard as they develop recommendations, he said. Among the group’s objectives is a goal of achieving reliable broadband Internet access service on 95% of agricultural land in the United States by 2025. 

The task force will perform duties and submit a report consistent with sections 12511(b)(3)(A) and (b)(5) of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Four working groups are assisting the task force in carrying out its work: 

  • Mapping and analyzing connectivity on agricultural lands. 
  • Examining current and future connectivity demand for precision agriculture. 
  • Encouraging adoption of precision agriculture and availability of high-quality jobs on connected farms. 
  • Accelerating broadband development deployment on unserved agricultural lands. 

The task force and its working groups will also consider how connectivity can improve sustainability in agricultural production. Building on their past four years of work, members will use the lens of sustainability to inform additional recommendations on policies, rules, amendments and solutions to improve availability of broadband Internet access service on farms and ranches and promote precision agriculture. 

“Moving forward, agriculturalists will need to be more connected in order to be efficient and effective with their time, resources, business decisions and stewardship of the land as well as dealing with climate changes,” Adelaine said. 

“I wanted to be part of this task force because SDSU has significant knowledge in the area of precision agriculture, and having worked through the pandemic and keeping students connected, I knew increasing connectivity at all levels would be critical for success across rural America.” 

Adelaine said the diverse group is single-minded in moving this issue forward through the best recommendations possible. 

“Since the first task force, recommendations have been taken to heart and various changes have been enacted by both the FCC and USDA, so members can see our work has made a difference,” he added. 

More information about the task force and its work can be found from the FCC.