Senators Reverend Warnock, Thune Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Farmers, Improve Precision Agriculture Technology

Senators Reverend Warnock, Thune introduced the Promoting Precision Agriculture Act to establish interconnectivity standards to allow precision agriculture technology to better communicate and share data.

Senators Reverend Warnock, Thune are members of the United States Senate Committee On Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Senator Reverend Warnock: “Georgia producers use robotics, sensors, monitors, and even drones to increase crop yield and use their resources effectively. It only makes sense that these technologies should work seamlessly together”

WATCH: Senator Reverend Warnock announces introduction of the Promoting Precision Agriculture Act

Washington D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Promoting Precision Agriculture Act. The bill would create a federal working group to establish interconnectivity standards to better communicate and share data. Precision agriculture includes the use of devices like robotics, sensors, monitors, drones, etc. to help growers increase efficiency, potentially increasing crop yields while reducing costs. Establishing interconnectivity standards will help promote the growth of the precision agriculture industry and make such tools easier for farmers to use and access.

Precision agriculture technology has the potential to transform agricultural production by giving growers the data they need to make smart decisions about their resources and crops. However, accessing this data can be difficult because there is no interconnectivity standards on how data should be shared from one device to another. According to the FCC, the lack of standards can result in farmers having to wait days between recording data to being able to analyze it and take action in the field. Setting interconnectivity standards will help more devices, from a soil monitor in the ground to a drone overhead, talk to one another and transmit data efficiently, so that farmers can always have the latest information available to make decisions to improve efficiency, improve crop yields, and lower costs.

“Technology is an integral part of farming in the 21st century,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “Georgia producers use robotics, sensors, monitors, and even drones to increase crop yield and use their resources effectively. It only makes sense that these technologies should work seamlessly together. This bill is good for farmers and the families they serve. I’m glad to work with Senator Thune, my colleague on the Senate Agriculture Committee, on this bipartisan legislation. We’re going to fight to get this done.”

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of South Dakota,” said Senator Thune.“Making agriculture more efficient and more productive is not only good for our nation’s food supply, it’s good for South Dakota farmers and ranchers and their families. I’m proud to introduce this bill that would help enhance and protect precision agriculture equipment as more producers use next-generation technologies to improve their operations.”

“This effort is a critical part of our ability to continue sustainably feeding and clothing the world – through the use of cutting-edge technologies, precision agriculture enables us to efficiently produce the food and fiber our world needs,” said Nick Place, Dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. “Precision agriculture and the data that it generates is really about enhancing decision-making capabilities in the lab and the field. At present, researchers aren’t able to access data quickly enough to fully harness the power of the technology currently available to us, even if the technology has the capability to perform a certain task or generate specific data points. The creation and enforcement of standards for connectivity will empower individuals with meaningful access to the information they need when they need it in order to make informed decisions about their work. Our hope is that, through increased connectivity, more producers here in Georgia and, ultimately, around the United States, will begin to adopt precision agriculture technologies, which could change agricultural production around the world.”

“Increased data connectivity and interoperability would open a lot of new doors for us in precision agriculture,” said Simerjeet Virk, University of Georgia Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Assistant Professor & Extension Precision Ag Specialist.“I believe that this effort will greatly enhance our work not only today, but far into the future as we look to increase adoption of precision agriculture technology among producers. As it stands, we are using the capabilities of technology far more than we are using the data that these technologies are generating – currently it is very challenging to transfer and use data between different technologies as well as data management platforms, which greatly hinders our effort to make informed data-driven decisions. With increased connectivity and greater access to agricultural data, our decision-making and planning abilities will increase significantly, which means we will be better able to maximize the potential of precision ag technologies – both in research and in commercial crop production. Developing and improving standards for data connectivity has the potential to revolutionize what we are doing with precision agriculture technology here in Georgia and all over the United States.”

Senator Reverend Warnock has championed supporting the technology needs of Georgia farmers. At the beginning of December, Senator Warnock announced  $250 million in American Rescue Plan funding will be invested in expanding and improving Georgians’ broadband access. He has secured more than $570 million in federal funding to bolster Georgia’s broadband infrastructure. Last year, Senator Warnock hosted Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel in Jackson County where he took her to meet directly with parents, students, and local officials about their broadband needs and the challenges they face. He also received a commitment from Rosenworcel to connect every Georgian to affordable and reliable broadband. In addition, Senator Warnock is working to bring more affordable broadband to more Georgians through the Affordable Connectivity Program, which was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.