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115th Congress   }                                       {      Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                       {     115-837

======================================================================



 
             PRECISION AGRICULTURE CONNECTIVITY ACT OF 2018

                                _______
                                

 July 18, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Walden, from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4881]

    The Committee on Energy and Commerce, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4881) to require the Federal Communications 
Commission to establish a task force for meeting the 
connectivity and technology needs of precision agriculture in 
the United States, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     4
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     4
Committee Action.................................................     4
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Oversight Findings and Recommendations...........................     5
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     5
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     5
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     5
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     5
Earmark, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff Benefits.......     6
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     6
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     6
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     7

    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act 
of 2018''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds the following:
          (1) Precision agriculture technologies and practices allow 
        farmers to significantly increase crop yields, eliminate 
        overlap in operations, and reduce inputs such as seed, 
        fertilizer, pesticides, water, and fuel.
          (2) These technologies allow farmers to collect data in real 
        time about their fields, automate field management, and 
        maximize resources.
          (3) Studies estimate that precision agriculture technologies 
        can reduce agricultural operation costs by up to 25 dollars per 
        acre and increase farm yields by up to 70 percent by 2050.
          (4) The critical cost savings and productivity benefits of 
        precision agriculture cannot be realized without the 
        availability of reliable broadband Internet access service 
        delivered to the agricultural land of the United States.
          (5) The deployment of broadband Internet access service to 
        unserved agricultural land is critical to the United States 
        economy and to the continued leadership of the United States in 
        global food production.
          (6) Despite the growing demand for broadband Internet access 
        service on agricultural land, broadband Internet access service 
        is not consistently available where needed for agricultural 
        operations.
          (7) The Federal Communications Commission has an important 
        role to play in the deployment of broadband Internet access 
        service on unserved agricultural land to promote precision 
        agriculture.

SEC. 3. TASK FORCE.

  (a) Definitions.--In this section--
          (1) the term ``broadband Internet access service''--
                  (A) means a mass-market retail service by wire or 
                radio that provides the capability to transmit data to 
                and receive data from all or substantially all Internet 
                endpoints, including any capabilities that are 
                incidental to and enable the operation of the 
                communications service, but excluding dial-up Internet 
                access service; and
                  (B) also encompasses any service that the Commission 
                finds to be providing a functional equivalent of the 
                service described in subparagraph (A);
          (2) the term ``Commission'' means the Federal Communications 
        Commission;
          (3) the term ``Department'' means the Department of 
        Agriculture;
          (4) the term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        Agriculture; and
          (5) the term ``Task Force'' means the Task Force for 
        Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision 
        Agriculture in the United States established under subsection 
        (b).
  (b) Establishment.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Commission shall establish the Task Force for 
Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision 
Agriculture in the United States.
  (c) Duties.--
          (1) In general.--The Task Force shall consult with the 
        Secretary, or a designee of the Secretary, and collaborate with 
        public and private stakeholders in the agriculture and 
        technology fields to--
                  (A) identify and measure current gaps in the 
                availability of broadband Internet access service on 
                agricultural land;
                  (B) develop policy recommendations to promote the 
                rapid, expanded deployment of broadband Internet access 
                service on unserved agricultural land, with a goal of 
                achieving reliable capabilities on 95 percent of 
                agricultural land in the United States by 2025;
                  (C) promote effective policy and regulatory solutions 
                that encourage the adoption of broadband Internet 
                access service on farms and ranches and promote 
                precision agriculture;
                  (D) recommend specific new rules or amendments to 
                existing rules of the Commission that the Commission 
                should issue to achieve the goals and purposes of the 
                policy recommendations described in subparagraph (B);
                  (E) recommend specific steps that the Commission 
                should take to obtain reliable and standardized data 
                measurements of the availability of broadband Internet 
                access service as may be necessary to target funding 
                support, from future programs of the Commission 
                dedicated to the deployment of broadband Internet 
                access service, to unserved agricultural land in need 
                of broadband Internet access service; and
                  (F) recommend specific steps that the Commission 
                should consider to ensure that the expertise of the 
                Secretary and available farm data are reflected in 
                future programs of the Commission dedicated to the 
                infrastructure deployment of broadband Internet access 
                service and to direct available funding to unserved 
                agricultural land where needed.
          (2) No duplicate data reporting.--In performing the duties of 
        the Commission under paragraph (1), the Commission shall ensure 
        that no provider of broadband Internet access service is 
        required to report data to the Commission that is, on the day 
        before the date of enactment of this Act, required to be 
        reported by the provider of broadband Internet access service.
          (3) Hold harmless.--The Task Force and the Commission shall 
        not interpret the phrase ``future programs of the Commission'', 
        as used in subparagraphs (E) and (F) of paragraph (1), to 
        include the universal service programs of the Commission 
        established under section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934 
        (47 U.S.C. 254).
          (4) Consultation.--The Secretary, or a designee of the 
        Secretary, shall explain and make available to the Task Force 
        the expertise, data mapping information, and resources of the 
        Department that the Department uses to identify cropland, 
        ranchland, and other areas with agricultural operations that 
        may be helpful in developing the recommendations required under 
        paragraph (1).
          (5) List of available federal programs and resources.--Not 
        later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, 
        the Secretary and the Commission shall jointly submit to the 
        Task Force a list of all Federal programs or resources 
        available for the expansion of broadband Internet access 
        service on unserved agricultural land to assist the Task Force 
        in carrying out the duties of the Task Force.
  (d) Membership.--
          (1) In general.--The Task Force shall be--
                  (A) composed of not more than 15 voting members who 
                shall--
                          (i) be selected by the Chairman of the 
                        Commission, in consultation with the Secretary; 
                        and
                          (ii) include--
                                  (I) agricultural producers 
                                representing diverse geographic regions 
                                and farm sizes, including owners and 
                                operators of farms of less than 100 
                                acres;
                                  (II) an agricultural producer 
                                representing tribal agriculture;
                                  (III) Internet service providers, 
                                including regional or rural fixed and 
                                mobile broadband Internet access 
                                service providers and 
                                telecommunications infrastructure 
                                providers;
                                  (IV) representatives from the 
                                electric cooperative industry;
                                  (V) representatives from the 
                                satellite industry;
                                  (VI) representatives from precision 
                                agriculture equipment manufacturers, 
                                including drone manufacturers, 
                                manufacturers of autonomous 
                                agricultural machinery, and 
                                manufacturers of farming robotics 
                                technologies;
                                  (VII) representatives from State and 
                                local governments; and
                                  (VIII) representatives with relevant 
                                expertise in broadband network data 
                                collection, geospatial analysis, and 
                                coverage mapping; and
                  (B) fairly balanced in terms of technologies, points 
                of view, and fields represented on the Task Force.
          (2) Period of appointment; vacancies.--
                  (A) In general.--A member of the Task Force appointed 
                under paragraph (1)(A) shall serve for a single term of 
                2 years.
                  (B) Vacancies.--Any vacancy in the Task Force--
                          (i) shall not affect the powers of the Task 
                        Force; and
                          (ii) shall be filled in the same manner as 
                        the original appointment.
          (3) Ex-officio member.--The Secretary, or a designee of the 
        Secretary, shall serve as an ex-officio, nonvoting member of 
        the Task Force.
  (e) Reports.--Not later than 1 year after the date on which the 
Commission establishes the Task Force, and annually thereafter, the 
Task Force shall submit to the Chairman of the Commission a report, 
which shall be made public not later than 30 days after the date on 
which the Chairman receives the report, that details--
          (1) the status of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access 
        service coverage of agricultural land;
          (2) the projected future connectivity needs of agricultural 
        operations, farmers, and ranchers; and
          (3) the steps being taken to accurately measure the 
        availability of broadband Internet access service on 
        agricultural land and the limitations of current, as of the 
        date of the report, measurement processes.
  (f) Termination.--The Commission shall renew the Task Force every 2 
years until the Task Force terminates on January 1, 2025.
    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to require the Federal Communications Commission to 
establish a task force for reviewing the connectivity and 
technology needs of precision agriculture in the United States.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 4881, the ``Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 
2018'' was introduced on January 25, 2018, by Representative 
Robert E. Latta (R-OH). H.R. 4881 would require the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC), in collaboration with the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA), to form a task force to 
evaluate the best ways to meet the broadband needs of precision 
agriculture in the United States. The task force would focus on 
identifying and measuring gaps in broadband coverage, and 
developing policy recommendations to promote rapid, expanded 
deployment of broadband in agricultural areas.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Committee on Energy and Commerce has prioritized 
policies that facilitate the deployment of broadband across 
America, especially to rural America. Witness testimony has 
indicated broadband access provides numerous benefits to 
consumers, as the benefits of broadband access in rural America 
provides an essential anchor to economic growth. Broadband 
networks have been disproportionately rolled out to urban 
areas, and many rural businesses do not have access to 
broadband services.. Both the FCC and the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, through the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), provide 
Federal support to bring broadband to rural areas. In rural 
areas, broadband has the potential to enable precision 
agriculture for farmers and ranchers by integrating emerging 
technologies and global position systems (GPS) to assist in the 
most efficient use of their land.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    On January 30, 2018, the Subcommittee on Communications and 
Technology held a hearing on H.R. 4881. The Subcommittee 
received testimony from:
           Jonathan Spalter, President and CEO, 
        USTelecom;
           Brad Gillen, Executive Vice President, CTIA;
           Matthew Polka, President and CEO, American 
        Cable Association;
           Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA--The Rural 
        Broadband Association;
           Scott Slesinger, Legislative Director, 
        National Resources Defense Council;
           Joanne S. Hovis, President, CTC Technology 
        and Energy; and
           Elin Swanson Katz, Consumer Counsel, 
        Connecticut Consumer Counsel.
    On June 13, 2018, the Subcommittee on Communications and 
Technology met in open markup session and forwarded H.R. 4881, 
as amended, to the full Committee by a voice vote. On July 12, 
2018, the full Committee on Energy and Commerce met in open 
markup session and ordered H.R. 4881, as amended, favorably 
reported to the House by a voice vote.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no recorded votes taken in connection with ordering 
H.R. 4881 reported.

                 OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee held a hearing and made 
findings that are reflected in this report.

   NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY, ENTITLEMENT AUTHORITY, AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that H.R. 
4881 would result in no new or increased budget authority, 
entitlement authority, or tax expenditures or revenues.

                  CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, at the time this report was filed, 
the cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974 was not available.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

         STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general 
performance goal or objective of this legislation is to form a 
task force at the FCC, in cooperation with the USDA, to promote 
rapid, expanded deployment of broadband in agricultural areas.

                    DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    No provision of H.R. 4881 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuantto section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                        COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. At the 
time this report was filed, the estimate was not available.

       EARMARK, LIMITED TAX BENEFITS, AND LIMITED TARIFF BENEFITS

    Pursuant to clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI, the 
Committee finds that H.R. 4881 contains no earmarks, limited 
tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits.

                  DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTED RULE MAKINGS

    Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, the Committee finds 
that H.R. 4881 contains no directed rule makings.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

             SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 provides that the Act may be cited as the 
``Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018.''

Section 2. Findings

    Section 2 finds that precision agriculture technologies and 
practices allow farmers to increase significantly crop yields, 
eliminate overlap in operations, and reduce inputs such as 
seed, fertilizer, pesticides, water, and fuel; that these 
technologies allow farmers to collect data in real time; that 
studies estimate that precision agriculture can reduce 
agricultural operation costs by up to 25 dollars per acre and 
increase farm yields by up to 70 percent by 2050; that the 
critical cost savings and productivity benefits of precision 
agriculture cannot be realized without the availability of 
reliable broadband Internet access service; that the deployment 
of broadband Internet access service to unserved agricultural 
land is critical to the U.S. economy and to continued 
leadership of the U.S. in global food production; that 
broadband Internet access service is not consistently available 
where needed for agricultural operations; and that the FCC has 
an important role to play in the deployment of broadband 
Internet access service in unserved agricultural land to 
promote precision agriculture.

Section 3. Task Force

    Section 3 requires the Commission to establish the Task 
Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of 
Precision Agriculture not later than 1 year after enactment.
    Section 3 also requires the Commission to consult with the 
Secretary of Agriculture and collaborate with public and 
private stakeholders to identify and measure current gaps in 
broadband on agricultural lands; to develop policy 
recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of 
broadband on unserved agricultural land; to promote effective 
policy and regulatory solutions that encourage the adoption of 
broadband Internet access service on farms and ranches and 
promote precision agriculture; to recommend specific new rules 
or amendments to existing rules of the Commission to achieve 
the goals and purposes of the policy recommendations above; to 
recommend specific steps that the Commission should take to 
obtain reliable and standardized data measurements of the 
availability of broadband; and to recommend specific steps that 
the Commission should consider to ensure that the expertise of 
the Secretary of Agriculture and available farm data are 
reflected in future programs of the Commission dedicated to 
infrastructure deployment of broadband.
    Section 3 further requires the FCC and the Secretary of 
Agriculture to submit to the task force a list of all Federal 
programs or resources available for the expansion of broadband 
access on unserved agricultural land within 180 days of 
enactment.
    Finally, Section 3 establishes the membership of the task 
force, and provides that the task force shall be renewed by the 
FCC every two years until it terminates on January 1, 2025.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    This legislation does not amend any existing Federal 
statute.

                                  [all]