Tech-Enabled Approaches to Attracting Businesses and People #MNBroadband Conference

Rural communities and regions want to attract people and businesses to ensure a bright local future. This panel will highlight the efforts, successes and challenges of three rural regions in creating an environment that is attractive and supportive to new and existing residents and businesses alike.

Notes: Cheryal Hills

–          How do we retain talent once it comes to our region?

–          Branding your community

–          Connected low income farmers with food cooperatives, and also their ‘Mobile Market’

–          Technology necessary for adequate education, which is a priority for families thinking of moving

–          Accessible and multilingual tech applications to demonstrate cultural values and attract a larger pool of people

Kirk Bustrom

–          Supported 3 counties that were participating in the Border to Border Broadband initiative

–          Tourism as a workforce attraction strategy

–          Used mobile devices that were connected to ArcGIS to analyze housing stock in order to access state funding

Bill Coleman

–          Flip from trying to attract companies to trying to attract people

–          A Blandin Broadband Community used program funding to train 20 welders

Closing the Digital Divide in Your Community #MNBroadband Conference

Everyone loves libraries. Even in the age of Google libraries are nowhere near obsolete. They are adapting services, programs and resources to serve a 21st century audience. Librarians understand technology and provide access to the internet, on- and off-site computers and other devices, like mobile hotspots. Your local library can be a great partner for closing the digital divide. Learn how Libraries without Borders is teaming with public libraries across Minnesota to extend technology-based library services to community sites, like laundromats and manufactured housing communities.

Making and Using Better Broadband Maps: Insights from NTIA #MNBroadband Conference

Mr. Spurgeon will present an update on the National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s (NTIA) federal broadband technical assistance and mapping programs, as well as its partnership with the state of Minnesota on those efforts. He will also discuss opportunities to leverage improved broadband mapping for cooperative policy-making and investment decision-making across federal and state government.

Andy Spurgeon, Chief of Operations, Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications, National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA)

Get the presentation slides.

Tech-Transformed Agriculture #MNBroadband Conference

Faced with a growing global population, farmers are attempting to produce more food, fuel, and fiber more efficiently at reduced cost. This panel will explore the role of technology and internet connectivity in Minnesota’s Ag economy and discuss a range of practical applications of “tech-transformed” agriculture being adopted by Minnesota farmers, including as a strategy to diversify our agricultural landscapes.

Notes: Tech Transformed Agriculture

Keith Olander

–          Farm Business Management

o   Adaption of technology is slowed by the poor economy for farmers

o   76% drop in farm income since 2012

–          Broadband on the Farm

o   Automation of farming equipment such as tractors and irrigators

o   Microchips that can be put into the soil

o   Automated weather alerts to help determine irrigation patterns, types of crops planted, etc.

–          Drones in Ag can limit use of pesticides and herbicides by applying them only to the places that need them

Jim Chamberlin

–          Issues in Agriculture

o   Population decline of insects, birds, and pollinators

o   Dead Zones in the Gulf of Mexico

o   Climate Change

–          Agriculture as a solution to climate change by taking carbon out of the air and improving soil health

–          Soil health = the ability to retain nutrients and water

–          Healthy soils would reduce the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere and water

–          The microbiome of soil is disturbed by pesticides/herbicides, and tilling/plowing.

–          Keeping soil moist by using mulch, keeping living roots in the soil, and integrating livestock help to retain the microbiome.

–          Soil testing via the Solvita test and the Haney test

–          Technology

o   Facebook for networking

o   YouTube and podcasts for learning

o   Fitbit for cows

o   Increasing crop diversity through automated farm vehicles because they can be smaller

Sam Ziegler

–          People migrating from rural to urban areas

–          Central and Southern Minnesota have high land productivity

–          GreenSeam Mission: to be the premier ag business epicenter in the United States

o   through business retention and attraction, business attraction and creation, and talent development

–          28% of people in Southern MN are working in agriculture

–          Helping a start-up that is developing a software to identify turkeys and health markers

–          Smarter farming practices could generate 2.3 trillion dollars according to a study by Tuft’s University

–          40k for Sam to get fiber to his farm. He is currently using cell data to use farming technology.