Tristan Johnson, owner of Wireless Data Net, shows where his system links into the fiber at Blue Ridge High School in Farmer City, Illinois, on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. photo by Darrell Hoemann, Investigate Midwest

GRAPHIC: High-speed internet access for farmers varies by state

Access to reliable high-speed internet is a convenience and a necessity for people because it enables more affordable and efficient use of essential services such as education, health care, public safety, and government services. In agriculture, high-speed internet can help farmers practice precision agriculture — the ability to know the proper amount of inputs, such as fertilizer and water, to conserve resources.

Across the country, 55% of farms have broadband access. In the Midwestern states, only farms in Missouri and Illinois report broadband access rates below the national average, at 48% and 47%, respectively.

The Dakotas are on the other end of the spectrum. In North Dakota, nearly eight out of 10 farms have broadband internet access. In neighboring South Dakota, just over seven out of 10 farms have high-speed internet access, according to data from the latest Census of Agriculture released in February.

According to the Federal Communications Commission’s definition, broadband, or high-speed Internet access, allows users to access the internet and related services at significantly higher speeds than those available through “dial-up” services. 

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This article first appeared on Investigate Midwest and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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