Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch was in West Lafayette on Tuesday at the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center at Purdue. She stopped by to learn more about Purdue Extension’s drone program that she initially learned about at the Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo in December.
“At the State Fairgrounds they did a demonstration when Hoosier Ag Today had a big exposition and I was absolutely intrigued. I was able to try and fly one and I didn’t crash it, so I thought, ‘You know? Let’s see what it looks like big time,’ and I really wanted to see how drones are utilized in agriculture with our producers out in the field.”
Crouch says she knows technology is advancing rapidly in agriculture with tools like drones and having strong internet access to run those tools is essential.
“That is why we are investing $100 million in expanding broadband to our unserved areas. We’re kind of in the first round of applications that have been submitted to expand broadband in our rural areas. We should have an awarding of that round here in August.”
Crouch said the lack of broadband in rural areas negatively impacts workforce, healthcare, education, economic development, and quality of life.
“Last year Purdue University, my alma mater, released a study that said there are almost 500,000 Hoosiers that are in internet darkness and if all those Hoosiers were connected it would result in an additional $1 billion to our state’s economy every year.”
Crouch believes we are on the right path here in Indiana as we approach the one-year anniversary of the newly created Director of Broadband Opportunities position held by Scott Rudd. Crouch says they’re very proud of Rudd as he was recently appointed by the chairman of the FCC to the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, a committee focused on encouraging deployment of broadband to low-income communities.