Soybeans and Satellites

Don’t mess with farmers — especially soybean farmers. They farmed $38.9 billion last year and now they’re getting together with 12 other national farmer groups to pick a fight with LightSquared.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) and a coalition of 12 other national producer groups that represent American farmers and all major crop commodities are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct additional targeted testing to ensure that any potential commercial terrestrial services offered by LightSquared will not cause harmful interference to Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) operations utilized by farmers to facilitate the production of an abundant and dependable food supply. In the agricultural sector, GPS-based technologies are responsible for an estimated $19 billion in higher annual farm revenue, in addition to considerable safety and environmental benefits. Thus, much is at stake for precision agriculture and this is why comprehensive testing is so important.

It would be totally unacceptable to expect the GPS community including government users, farmers, and other taxpayers to bear any cost for replacing equipment that ceases to function properly if solutions are found enabling LightSquared to move forward. Any costs associated with retrofitting or replacing GPS receivers must be borne by LightSquared.

“As users of GPS precision equipment in agricultural applications, we believe this additional testing is imperative,” said ASA First Vice President Steve Wellman, a farmer from Syracuse, Neb. “We need to know with certainty that any modifications and proposed solutions will work for new and existing precision agriculture equipment.”

Get in line, soy boys!

Interesting how LightSquared gave it a completely different spin

This week, we received a strong endorsement of our view that LightSquared and GPS can co-exist from several of the country’s leading agricultural organizations: the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sugar Alliance, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, National Potato Council and the Western Growers Association. These groups signed a joint letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees calling for them to work to ensure that the agricultural sector receives the benefits of LightSquared’s network alongside GPS. “We believe that both of these technologies have great potential to drive economic development in rural America and a reasonable agreement should be reached to allow for their future success,” the organizations wrote.

The soy boys aren’t endorsing you, so don’t interfere with GPS.


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One Comment

  • andrewtytla says:

    This is getting interesting. From 13 October 2011 Computerworld

    LightSquared and a partner, Javad GNSS, showed off a filter and an antenna on Thursday that they said would solve the anticipated GPS interference problem that has plagued the carrier’s plan to deploy an LTE network in frequencies near those used by GPS.

    At a live news conference in Washington, D.C., that was webcast, the companies showed an external antenna roughly the size of an enterprise Wi-Fi access point and a ceramic filter smaller than a pencil. Javad would make the filter and incorporate it into the antenna, which would cost US$300 or less and could be easily swapped with external filters on receivers in the field, the companies said. Retrofitting receivers with internal antennas would cost about $200 each, according to LightSquared.

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