Working Together to Strengthen the Lives of Rural Americans
American Farm Bureau President Joins Connected Nation Board of Directors
American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall may lead one of the nation’s largest and most prominent nonprofits, but at heart, he’s a third-generation farmer from Georgia. Duvall is someone who advocates for and understands well the challenges facing farmers, ranchers, and others in rural America.
“Zippy has worked for decades to build strong and prosperous agricultural communities in his home state and nationally,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. “From our very beginning, the American Farm Bureau Federation has been a significant and faithful partner to Connected Nation. We share a common mission to leverage broadband to help millions of rural Americans not just to survive, but to thrive and participate equally in today’s digital world.”
Connected Nation is a nonprofit based in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Its mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies.
“Our mantra is that ‘Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.’ If we are going to include all people, then that means we must find new ways to identify the coverage gaps and bring access to every part of America,” Ferree said. “Zippy is someone who can create change in this space, and we’re excited to have him join our board to provide his expertise and guide our efforts.”
“I am honored to join the board of Connected Nation as their mission to preserve our rural communities is close to my heart and the heart of Farm Bureau,” said Duvall. “Broadband is essential for rural communities to thrive, and I’m excited about working with Connected Nation to bring better connectivity to all of rural America. We can’t do that, though, without federal mapping for a better understanding of where those gaps still are—an area I’m eager to hit the ground running on as a board member. I look forward to working with Connected Nation and Congress to address this issue once and for all.”
Zippy Duvall was elected President of AFBF in 2016 and was appointed to the White House Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations in December 2017. Also in 2017, he was honored by the National 4-H Council as a founding luminary. His legacy and long history of service to the farming community is well established and is marked by nine years as President of the Georgia Farm Bureau, where he was appointed to several state roles, including then-Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s Agricultural Advisory Committee.
“Farmers and ranchers are some of the first adopters of cutting-edge technology,” Ferree said. “Right now, precision farming is making it easier for America’s farmers to produce at a higher yield, and the internet helps them know when to sell for a better price. At the same time, new technologies like drones are making it easier for ranchers to watch their herds for signs of disease and other problems. But those families can’t access technology that could help them unless we connect rural America—giving those who provide food for our tables the tools they need to thrive.”
“Our staff is looking forward to working with Zippy and his entire team,” Ferree added. “We believe that, through partnerships and positive, bipartisan relationships, we can work together to close the Digital Divide so no family, small business, farmer, veteran, or child is left without access to the opportunities many of us already enjoy.”
Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and representing farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being. It has six million member families and is in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Connected Nation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that develops and implements strategies to close digital equity gaps and improve digital skills in communities across the United States.