The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to provide citizens access to rural broadband. The coronavirus pandemic, however, further highlights the need for greater connection.

Senator Joni Ernst says, “What I have seen through the COVID-19 pandemic is a great awakening of the United States to the needs of those living in our most rural communities.”

“There are all sorts of activities taking place online right now, even more so than what we saw before the pandemic,” Ernst said. “Whether it is connecting to classes virtually or online, our kiddos still have (an) opportunity as long as they are connected. There’s telehealth opportunities. We are seeing more, not only seniors, but everyone, engaging in telehealth, whether it’s mental health support or monthly checkups with their physician or provider.”

Senator Ernst adds, “I’m excited that we have this opportunity to make sure more people are connected.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this week announced the Department of Agriculture has exhausted the first phase of funding, under the Broadband Reconnect Program. The newer program offers grants and loans to rural communities with minimal to no broadband service.

To read the full article in Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, click here.