Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed two pieces of legislation authored by Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) to spur innovation and embrace cutting-edge technology. The two bills, H.R. 4881, the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, and H.R. 6032, the SMART IoT Act, were approved with bipartisan support.
The bipartisan Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act establishes a task force, operating under the direction of the FCC and in collaboration with USDA, which will begin efforts to identify and recommend policies that will improve access to broadband on rural, agricultural lands and help farmers increase crop yields, reduce operating costs, and promote environmentally sustainable practices.
Precision agriculture is the use of technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), self-driving machinery, drones, and satellites to farm in a more effective and efficient manner. Because rural areas often have less access to high-speed broadband connectivity, the agricultural community has more difficulty integrating the new technology that could make their work easier, safer, and better for the environment.
The legislation was also included as an Amendment in the House-passed Farm Bill last month.
“Precision agriculture is revolutionizing farming by ensuring that practices are easier, safer, and more sustainable,” said Latta. “However, it’s critical that we close the ‘Digital Divide’ to ensure that the agricultural community can fully utilize this cutting-edge technology. The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act begins the process of identifying and recommending policies to help the agricultural community use this innovation.”
The committee also approved the SMART IoT Act, which directs the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a study on the state of the internet-connected device industry. The legislation will help Congress better understand the policy implications of this industry and encourage continued innovation.
“It’s estimated that the Internet of Things could have an economic impact of up to $11 trillion by 2025,” said Latta. “This technology holds tremendous potential, and I’ve already seen manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses in Ohio that are using this innovation. The SMART IoT Act will help us identify benefits and challenges regarding IoT and develop the right policy framework.”