A Shorter Leap

Fact: Americans in rural areas of the country trail their urban counterparts in broadband adoption. We are all aware of the barriers. Rural communities face limited broadband access to carriers, a lack of choices, and generally higher prices than other areas of the country.

But help may be on the way. Presi­dent Obama’s economic stimulus package sets aside an estimated $7 billion to fund broadband grants that target unserved and underserved areas, primarily residents in rural and remote areas that large broadband providers have been slow to connect because of deployment costs. Building out broadband to these areas will help plug them into the world’s new communication network, not to mention create new jobs and opportunities in rural communities.

With broadband back in the news, it reminded me how far e-technology adoption has come in agriculture since I joined CropLife’s parent company, Meister Media Worldwide (MMW), in the mid-1990s. Take e-mail for instance. I was an editor for Greenhouse Grower magazine when MMW first implemented a companywide e-mail system. You talk about a technology upgrade that actually improves your job performance, e-mail was it.

In addition to in-person and phone interviews, editors now had the invaluable option to use e-mail to communicate with their sources. Unfortunately, sources who actually had e-mail themselves at the time were few and far between, limited mostly to academia and a handful of greenhouse suppliers. Growers were still years away from using e-mail, relying primarily on phone and fax communications to conduct their business operations.

That has changed completely. Today, e-mail is an everyday tool for growers to stay connected with their suppliers and customers. Most couldn’t live without it. In fact, many of those same growers who didn’t have e-mail 10 to 15 years ago are now receiving multiple e-newsletters every week (and in some cases sending their own) to stay current on the latest industry news and trends.

Internet usage has also jumped leaps and bounds. In 2002, I moved on from my Greenhouse Grower gig to become the editor of the Crop Protection Handbook, one of Meister’s long-standing reference guides. My primary task was to develop a Web component to supplement the Handbook’s printed version. We invested a lot of time and money into an online, fully searchable database of crop protection products and suppliers. Yet when push came to shove, the majority of the Handbook’s users still preferred the phonebook-style directory over the electronic format. The timing still wasn’t right.

That was then, this is now. Inter­net usage, particularly by ag dealers, is starting to catch up to its print counterpart. According to a recent survey by the CropLife Media Group, 80% of ag dealers access the Internet for work every day. Furthermore, 40% of them are online one to three hours or more a day, and another 36% are using mobile devices to access the Internet.

These survey numbers, coupled with the broadband provisions in the latest stimulus package, make the leap to e-technology a whole lot shorter than ever before. As the new online editor of the CropLife Media Group, I’m excited to be a part of it.

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories

Wheat Growers
Matt Hopkins16 Most Diversified Ag Retailers In 2016
January 8, 2016
Diversification. It’s the battle cry for financial planners everywhere. Many will preach that spreading your investments across market sectors, industries, and Read More
AGCO Go-Task App
Matt Hopkins10 Must-Have Agriculture Apps That Will Make You More Efficient In 2016
December 15, 2015
I guess this mobile app frenzy isn’t a short-lived fad after all. Consider in 2010 there was a “meager” 300,000 Read More
Ag retailer at computer
Matt Hopkins5 Lessons Learned From Launching An Agricultural Data Business
October 7, 2015
Like many other industries, agriculture has witnessed big data rocket up the corporate agenda. And as an ag media company, Read More
Ribbon cutting at 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Matt Hopkins5 Key Takeaways From The 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
February 14, 2015
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the largest indoor farm show in the country didn't disappoint with the latest in technology and trends on full display. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina Nearing Deal To Buy Syngenta For Record $43 B…
February 3, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 Read More
Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide…
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Potash storage at Growmark
FertilizerThe Phosphate And Potash Outlook For 2016
February 2, 2016
Like other commodities, prices of the leading plant nutrient products dropped sharply in 2015. At this writing, the price of Read More