Nebraska company urges Congress to encourage rural broadband expansion

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- “Farmers were gaining nearly 40 dollars per acre," Timothy Hassinger, President and CEO of the Lindsay Corporation said.

The Omaha-based Lindsay Corporation said it’s on the cutting edge of helping farmers water crops. The company makes internet dependent field irrigation systems. They monitor soil, and target certain parts of the field with more water, others with less.

“The irrigation system in those examples used 17 percent less water," Hassinger added.

Tuesday, Lindsay Corporation CEO, Tim Hassinger, stepped in front of a U.S. Senate committee. Passenger told them nearly 30% of rural farmers can’t use his company’s technology because they don’t have access to high speed internet.

“Respectfully Senators I ask a question, would you be able to do your job without access to internet? Probably not, and neither can farmers," Hassinger said.

On the committee was Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), who invited Hassinger to testify, said high speed internet access is important for rural America.

“In my dealings with a number of tech companies, I see them investing. They understand there’s a market out there, whether it’s with ag producers, or whether it’s with consumers who want the latest gadget," Fischer said.

Angela Siefer from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance questioned if that private sector investment is doing enough to increase access and she’s said she is critical of leaders for not having a unified strategy.

“So there’s a handful of programs for infrastructure, federal programs, I can tell you there are no functioning broadband adoption programs right now. I would like to tell you otherwise, but that’s not true," Siefer said.

Senator Fischer said a bi-partisan group of Senators is working to figure out what, if any, regulations will be needed to expand rural broadband access.

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