LACK OF RURAL INTERNET AND CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY JEOPARDIZING GROWTH OF AG INDUSTRY

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silver iPhone X floating over open palm
Kristjan Hebert is a Global Farmer Network member from Canada. In this blog post, he describes how he can run his business from a cell phone— assigning work orders, purchasing inputs, marketing grain, and making capital decisions…but only if he can access cellular service. With much of rural areas underserved by broadband and cell service he explains the digital divide.
Kristjan Hebert
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Kristjan Hebert

Kristjan farms 28,000 acres in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan, Canada, growing malt barley, hard red spring wheat, canola, fall rye, yellow peas and oats. He returned from university in 2008, determined to grow the family farm from the 2,000 acres that it was as he was growing up.
Kristjan used his interests in finance (he’s a CPA) and people to make the business decisions and assemble the team needed to grow. The farm forward contracts its crops and adjusts the crop rotation to some degree according to the sales contracts that can be accessed.
The farm uses no-till on most of its acres, with minimum tillage on the rest. Technologies include variable rate fertilization and a 6-9 year nutrient management plan that includes numerous ways to apply fertilizer. This offers some risk management in years like this one when fertilizer prices are high.
Kristjan is working in collaboration with his brother who raises livestock, to produce silage for the cattle, then grow a cover crop that’s available for grazing, in turn adding manure fertilizer to the land. From an environmental viewpoint, he thinks it’s important to get farmers and livestock producers working together.

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