Rural farmers share struggles to access high-speed internet

RED OAK, Iowa (KMTV) — Steve Turman and his wife Maggie McQuown say slow internet speeds can make managing the Red Oak, Iowa, Farmers Market and their produce farm difficult.

“The direction agriculture is going, it’s critical,” McQuown said. “You have to have an internet connection for weather, to run your equipment, to track your crops.”

To bring stronger internet in rural areas like Red Oak, the USDA is sending more than $500 million in loans and grants to telecommunications providers in 20 states including Nebraska and Iowa. Ultimately Turman and McQuown say measures like these need to be taken for the growth and future of the city.

Now, they’re using two to three services patched together to get connected. But the connection isn’t all quite there.

“A little bit slow and sometimes intermittent,” Turman said.

“When I’m trying to upload the announcements for the farmer’s market, when I try to upload as many as ten photos, it takes forever,” McQuown said.

Another hurdle is the quality of Zoom meetings.

“If we can’t attract people who need to work remotely, it’s going to hurt our economy,” McQuown said.

The couple hopes to have better service by the end of this year.

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