Rural v Urban – Digital Divide (Update)

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.

Ag Web:  Will 5G, StarLink, and Private Networks Narrow the Digital Divide?

 

The Future of Farming is Now

The title of this 7-minute TEDEd video is “Can We Create the Perfect Farm?”  As with a lot of future predictions, the techniques being proposed are already in production around the globe.

The video is correct – it will take global cooperative effort to succeed in adopting these practices as the norm, and it will also take consumer understanding and support of the agriculture industry’s efforts to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly while maintaining the production levels necessary to feed the world.

PETA’s Selective Mission

Also known as, “Don’t Believe the Hype,” or “We Are More Into the Politics than the Animals,” or “People Encouraging Their own Agenda.”

Link to the article: PETA Offers Unconvincing Defense For The High Kill Rate In Its “Shelter”

Frankly, I was surprised that PETA operates a shelter.  PETA seems more interested in the vegan platform than in managing the issues of overpopulation of cats and dogs.  My expectation is that this represents a token effort to include a shelter on the checkbox of their accomplishments.

This article provides data about the PETA “Open Admission” shelter in Virginia which shows that PETA euthanizes an average of 65% of the animals it takes in – which is a rate of as much as 13 times the state rate (for dogs) and more than 11 times the state rate of euthanasia for cats.    65% – let that number sink in.  More than 6 out of every 10 animals delivered to this shelter are euthanized.

PETA does not dispute the findings – but tries to defend the statistics by saying that this shelter is an “open admission” shelter, as opposed to the much more selective “no kill” shelters.  (PETA ironically uses the term “safe place” where no animal is turned away, ever)  However, that claim is not supported by the facts.  In Virginia, the average euthanasia rate for all other “open admission” shelters is 14% (cats and dogs) compared with PETA’s shelter euthanasia rate at 65% (cats and dogs).

The moral of the story is – don’t take your pet (or your money) to PETA.  If they really cared about animals, they would spend more of their money actually saving animals – not euthanizing them.