“If we lose signal integrity or quality, it will be a huge setback for agriculture. GPS is a crucial tool for us today and is essential to the future of agriculture.”

Michael is disappointed other farmers have not taken active roles in fighting LightSquared’s proposal before the Federal Communications Commission. “I can't stress how critical this issue is for ag, I am disappointed that more are not talking about it. I had (also) hoped that there would be broader public opposition since we all are using GPS to some extent.  I will pursue every means possible to bring greater attention to this issue. We have to protect this technology.”

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has waded into the issue. Its president, Ed Bolen, submitted written testimony to Congress underscoring the need to protect the viability of GPS. Two subcommittees recently held joint hearings to examine an emerging technology that threatens to degrade or disrupt GPS signals – a threat that has raised alarm among aviation groups, military officials and federal policymakers.

Recent tests conducted by LightSquared throughout the Southwestern U.S. have revealed the potential for severe interference with signals from GPS satellites. Those findings support data from industry tests of the technology, including a study by electronics manufacturer Garmin International.

"For more than three decades, the GPS, as administered by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), has been integral part of our nation’s infrastructure," Bolen’s testimony noted. "We have been carefully monitoring the field testing of the LightSquared system and initial results do indicate the potential for interference with the satellite transmissions to hundreds of millions of GPS receivers.

"Today, more than 60 percent of the 11,000 business aircraft operating in the U.S. are equipped with various GPS capabilities required for instrument approaches at over 5,000 airports in the U.S.

“Our [NBAA] members are not opposed to the development and deployment of new or improved technology systems like LightSquared – as long as it is conclusively proven that it will not result in radio interference with GPS systems or pose any threat to the global aviation transportation system."