**Farmers and ranchers are increasingly adopting technology designed to improve their understanding of crop and soil conditions and run their businesses more efficiently.

The challenge is that, in many rural areas, broadband access is spotty, if it’s even available.

That affects not only farming, but rural residents’ access to health care and education.

State and federal leaders are working on ways to help fill the gaps.

**Livestock and poultry producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing can apply for assistance for those losses and the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animals.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program at the National Pork Industry Conference in Wisconsin, part of USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

Livestock and poultry producers can apply for assistance through USDA's Farm Service Agency through September 17th.

**Consumer prices rose by a larger-than-expected 5.4% over the past year, the biggest 12-month increase in the U.S. inflation rate since August 2008.

According to www.agriculture.com, prices for restaurant meals, carry-out food, food from vending machines, and snacks were up by a strong 4.2% as the food service sector reopened after pandemic restrictions.

The 4.2% rise in the Consumer Price Index for “food away from home” was the largest increase since the year ending in May 2009.

www.agriculture.com/news/business/meal-prices-are-a-factor-in-surging-us-inflation-rate