**There’s a sense in the rural broadband industry that the coming year will be important because of the possibility that an administration-backed infrastructure bill might be produced, but they also see it as a critical time for the health of the Universal Service Fund.

If it’s not done soon, Trent Boaldin, president of Oklahoma-based Epic Touch, tells Agri-Pulse, “I just think the areas we serve will suffer so much that, there will be no need for universal service because the areas will fall apart.”

The USF is a pool of phone bill assessments used to build out communications networks in high-cost areas.

**A grain marketer says planting delays in South America could provide price support for farmers.

Angie Setzer, with Michigan-based Citizens Elevator, tells Brownfield Brazil’s second crop soybean plantings are trailing last year by about 10 percent, but still on pace with their five-year average.

She says the slower planting pace has traders anticipating Brazilian production losses in soybeans as well as second crop corn.

**The CEO of the National Pork Board says the organization wants consumers to have a better pork eating experience.

Bill Even says that’s one of the Pork Board’s end goals with the USDA’s proposed new pork grading standards.

Domestic pork consumption has been stagnant for the past several years at around 50 pounds per person, annually, and Even tells Brownfield, that isn’t good enough.

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