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House overwhelmingly supports satellite-driven precision agriculture

Congress rallies behind farmers as it comes together to expand precision agriculture via satellites.

A graphic of satellite connectivity between multiple crop fields

Picture courtesy of FCC Interim Report: Examining Current and Future Connectivity Demand for Precision Agriculture

The House of Representatives recently passed H.R.1339, or the Precision Agriculture Satellite Connectivity Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.). The legislation, which passed by an overwhelming margin of 409-11, would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review current U.S. rules for its satellites — specifically, to determine whether U.S. satellites can be used to enhance the practice of precision agriculture.  

Precision agriculture uses global positioning system (GPS) satellites to observe, measure and respond to different variables that affect crop output and longevity. This includes measuring soil moisture levels, structural anomalies and nutrient levels. 

"Precision agriculture enables America’s farmers to do more while using fewer resources and is playing an ever-growing role in sustainability efforts," said Emily Buckman, American Farm Bureau Federation director of government affairs, to Michigan Farm News. The venture capital community echoes that sentiment. According to the AgFunder 2023 Global Agrifoodtech Global Investment Report, satellite and other sensing technologies received $1.7 billion in funding in 2022.

The bill is on its way to the Senate. If it passes and is eventually signed into law by President Joe Biden, the FCC will have 15 months to investigate and present a plan to Congress with ways to improve satellite technology and enable greater access for farmers. 

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