USA Rice Federation and 12 other agricultural and agribusiness organizations whose members are engaged in global positioning system (GPS) dependent precision agricultural practices or who service the technology wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to urge the agency not to permit a corporate wireless network modification until it can be clearly demonstrated that no interference to GPS will occur as a result of the proposed change.
"While our members support the development of wireless broadband services in rural America, we are deeply concerned that [the] proposed network will cause unacceptable interference to signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS)," coalition members said.
GPS has been a boon to precision agriculture and the environment. "With the chronically uncertain future of agricultural production, growers cannot afford to lose dependable, consistent access to GPS technology and the benefit it provides," the groups said.
Farmers and ranchers have invested heavily to purchase GPS devices for their equipment, making it unreasonable to move forward without knowing the effects of the proposed wireless network modifications on agricultural GPS equipment. Developing and proving the effectiveness of a commercially feasible filtering device for the field is needed, although the cost for such a device is unknown.