Commerce Committee advances Senator Fischer’s Precision Ag Technology Legislation

Commerce Committee advances Senator Fischer’s Precision Ag Technology Legislation
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May 13th, 2021 | Senator Deb Fischer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after the Commerce committee advanced her bipartisan legislation supporting the advancement of Internet of Things (IoT) technology for precision agriculture: 

“This is critical legislation for ag communities. Through targeted research, it would improve the technology farmers and ranchers need to benefit from precision agriculture, especially in areas without reliable connectivity or power. It’s good to see this bipartisan bill for rural America clear committee.”

More information about the legislation:

The bill, which Senator Fischer introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) last month, would encourage National Science Foundation (NSF) support for research on advanced sensing systems for rural and agricultural areas. Specifically, it would ensure this research assesses rural and agricultural environments where there often is unreliable signal connectivity or power. This can affect how connected Internet of Things (IoT) technologies operate in these settings.

Additionally, this legislation:

  • Expands the definition of “advanced technology” for NSF’s Advanced Technical Education (ATE) Program to ensure the inclusion of agriculture-related technology.
  • Updates language in NSF’s associate degree programs in STEM fields to consider applications that incorporate distance learning into the curriculum. This would provide additional flexibility for students in rural areas or those who work on a farm or ranch.
  • Directs the Government Accountability Office to produce a report that provides a technology assessment of precision agriculture innovations, as well as reviews all existing federal programs that support precision agriculture.

Read the full text of the bill here.

Senator Fischer has been a leader on advancing IoT technology. Last year, the Senate passed her bipartisan DIGIT Act, which became law. That legislation convenes a working group of federal entities and private sector experts to facilitate the growth of Iot, particularly in key sectors such as agriculture, transportation, and health care.

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