The Simple Genious of the Interstate Highway System (Video). Started by Dwight D. Eisenhower after WWII, it was an economic necessity and is considered to be one of the most influential infrastructures in the country (in US history). The project was achieved at a cost of $8.5M/mile (2016 dollars) to construct, which increased to $34M/mile in the 1980s (2016 dollars). Starting in 1956, it took nearly 40 years to complete the entire system. This reduced the 62-day journey from coast to coast to 42 hours.
The logistics of a nationwide transportation system is an engineering and economic marvel. On the other hand, there were some significant non-monetary and hidden costs. Check out this video for more details. (20-minute video, but worth the time – grab a coffee and enjoy).
Ag News article by Tom Doran about the four most prevalent myths surrounding farm subsidies.
Myth: US Farm Policy gives preferential treatment and payments to corporate agriculture
Myth: Farm Subsidies to go large food agribusinesses
Myth: Farm policy gives preferential treatment to “the big five or six grains.”
Myth: The government subsidized the sugar industry
Please read the article for more detailed explanation of each of these myths. You’ll need a little familiarity with how the farm program works in order to fully understand the article, but worth the read.
In almost every way, I prefer my rural life over urban life. I grew up on a farm, I still live on that farm, and I would not want to live anywhere else.
However, rural internet is years behind urban internet. Folks who live in cities take for granted internet speeds that are impossible to achieve in rural environments. While improving rural broadband is percolating up as a priority at both state and national levels, technology, affordability, and deployment of adequate internet speeds to my home and farm are on a deployment track of “later, rather than sooner.”
Check out the article (link below) from Farm Journal’s Ag Web about the digital divide and some opportunities that might help close that gap.
For the record, I believe that it will take multiple platforms working together to provide adequate, reliable, and affordable internet into the rural markets. No single provider can invest the millions of dollars in the infrastructure necessary to provide high-speed internet to the sparsely-populated rural areas. While there are grants available, my experience has been that the grant dollars tend to go into deep pockets for “research,” and are sometimes not applied where the services are needed. I’ve seen millions of dollars “awarded” for broadband development in rural markets. I have yet to see improvement in my neck of the woods.
The article discusses a couple of current options in development. If you read my blog regularly, or if you care to check previous posts on the Agriculture topic, you’ll find references to several other technologies in development for application in the rural environment.
Our farm uses technology in every phase of our operation. Progress and efficiencies are slowed because we don’t have access to reliable and fast internet (by “fast,” I mean at least 50MBs – which is not even on the radar for most governmental agency discussions). Until the rural environment starts to experience the speeds available in the city, rural development will be hampered.