This morning U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue provided opening remarks to a coalition of stakeholders to launch a series of regional listening sessions targeting the expansion of broadband access in rural America. You can watch the recording here or listen below. USDA has had programs for years to assist with local and regional broadband efforts but there is still a long way to go. Hopefully these sessions will encourage new infrastructure development so farmers as well as anyone living in rural areas will have the opportunities that good broadband offers.Audio of Secretary Perdue's Remarks
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai
Rural Utilities Service Administrator Ken Johnson
Tennessee Telecommunications Association Executive Director Levon Knowles
North Arkansas Electric Cooperative Executive Director Mel Coleman
Other presenters will include:
Constance Cullman, President and CEO, Farm Foundation
Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association
Jim Matheson, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
Thomas Halverson, President and CEO, CoBank
Sheldon Petersen, CEO, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC)
Jannine Miller, USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Infrastructure
Joe Swedberg, Chairman of the Board, Farm Foundation
The launch and subsequent listening session are being organized by Farm Foundation, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, CoBank, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC).
The next listening session will be in June 2018 in Minnesota, with additional sessions to be completed over the next six months.