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Microsoft has announced a multiyear alliance with US farming cooperative Land O’Lakes to close the rural broadband gap. Combined with Microsoft’s cloud technologies and AI capabilities, the companies will deliver solutions that help farmers’ profit potential and adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

“Land O’Lakes is one of the most important food suppliers in the U.S., and our nation’s farmers and consumers rely on its ability to rapidly adapt to changing market forces through innovation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Through our partnership, we will apply the power of Azure and its AI capabilities to help Land O’Lakes solve some of the most pressing challenges facing the industry and bridge the divide between rural and urban communities.”

Initially, the companies will focus on developing a connected AgTech platform, built on Microsoft Azure, that will bring together Land O’Lakes’ portfolio of AgTech tools, such as WinField United’s R7 Suite, Data Silo and Truterra Insights Engine under one unified architecture.

The companies are launching pilots that will lead to long-term programmatic solutions in rural communities. Combining Microsoft’s Airband program and specific locations within the Land O’Lakes owner network, broadband will be deployed to rural communities along with services including telehealth, educational resources and digital skilling.

Both companies are also advocating for policy changes to accelerate the availability of broadband in rural communities, including broadband mapping to fully understand who has and does not have access to broadband, and federal funding in upcoming legislation.

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