As a little girl, I remember listening to my parents reminisce about the day that power—or rural electrification, as they called it—came to central Missouri in the 1940s. Once I got older and had learned more about our country’s history, I started to doubt that their timeline was right. How could it be that the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis had electricity and we didn’t until 40 years later?!
The availability of electricity is a sterling example of how urban and rural settings in close proximity can be worlds apart. With such a cavernous gap in infrastructure, no wonder my parents talked about the day the lights came on.
As of late, my kids have similar tales to share about the day fast Internet came to our farm. From the early days of dial-up, we’ve had Internet but never connec-tivity close to that of our city cousins.
When my husband’s business, based in our farmhouse, transitioned to online billing, dial-up was replaced—over and over again—with the fastest Internet that money can buy in the boonies. Now, a decade later, we finally have service almost as fast as DSL.
We knew our provider had promised a big upgrade, but we underestimated how much it would change our lives. Our access to information, online services, shopping and pure fun changed
in a snap. None of us will ever forget the day the Internet actually started responding with a click.
Farmers and rural America need—and deserve—connectivity that keeps them competitive and up with the times. I know that weighs heavily on county commissioners and rural infrastructure suppliers. It needs to. The transformation can’t happen fast enough.