What is in this article?:
- Digital haves and have nots
- Moving is not the answer
A new Commerce Department survey shows that in 2010 only 60 percent of rural households had high-speed, broadband Internet service.
Moving is not the answer
“So, move,” some urban residents say. “You choose to live in the sticks. The government isn’t helping me with life in the city.” Not true: there would be hardly a mass transit system, freeway or wastewater treatment facility in America if it was not for government investment.
Also, where does the urban resident think his food is going to come from if someone does not live and farm in rural America? Farmers and ranchers need access to 21st century health care through telemedicine. Their communities need jobs that only come if they have the infrastructure needed to attract employers.
They also need to be part of our democracy. If you don’t have high-speed Internet, you are less likely to know what’s going on and take part in it. A growing number of farmers and ranchers already know this. They are taking to the information highway — posting YouTube videos, blogging and tweeting — to let the non-farming public know about how they grow America’s food and care for animals and the land.
Some say the government shouldn’t be concerned with whether people can access the Internet. Perhaps they are forgetting that extending electricity, roads and phone service to everyone also were national efforts.
Programs that are mapping the underserved areas of our country and providing incentives for telecommunications companies to extend service need to continue. When we all put our hands on the plow, we can cultivate opportunities and harvest economic growth for urban and rural residents alike.
Is the next big innovation sparking in the mind of a youngster in a small town like Granger, Wyo., Union, Miss., or Farmington, Maine? There’s one way to find out.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Lynne Finnerty is the editor of FBNews, the official newspaper of the American Farm Bureau Federation.