Congressional Briefing on Software in Agriculture

Congressional Briefing on Software in Agriculture
May 17, 2019
Washington, DC

On May 17, 2019, hosted a Congressional staff briefing on Capital Hill to launch its report, Every Sector Is a Software Sector: Agriculture, and educate staffers about the necessary policy elements for continued growth. The report examines the benefits of software on sustainability, livestock, the environment, and crop development. Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA), who previously wrote software for wind turbines, opened the event, stating the agriculture is quickly becoming a precision industry and that software is helping farmers use resources more efficiently, saving them money and making them more profitable. The event then featured presentations from representatives of three supporting companies. Paul Garnett from Microsoft explained that agricultural communities can’t fully take advantage of software innovations without broadband access and highlighted Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, which expects to reach 3 million people in 25 states who didn’t previously have broadband access. Brian Raymond from Siemens outlined how Siemens is working to maintain trust and privacy in the digital ecosystem. Lastly, Guenter Sauter from IBM showcased how Watson AI is helping farmers gain more insights from their data, leading to a higher yield and a consistent output. The crowd of Hill staffers was very engaged and asked several thoughtful questions. Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director at ended the event by reminding attendees about the need for digital skills in rural areas. “The best coders for local problems are local people,” he said.


  • Keynote: Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
  • supporting companies panel
    • Paul Garnett, Senior Director of Microsoft Airband Initiative, Microsoft
    • Brian Raymond, Director of Global Digital Policy and Government Affairs, Siemens
    • Guenter Sauter, Director of Weather Solutions for Enterprises, IBM
  • Closing Remarks: Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director, the BSA Foundation

Explore the report at

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