Delaware Gov. John Carney highlighted the agriculture industry in his annual State of the State address Jan. 23 at Legislative Hall in Dover, detailing improvements to high-speed internet access and the ability to secure farmland preservation.
“New investments in our technology infrastructure have already brought high-speed internet to the areas around Laurel, Seaford and Bridgeville, where service was spotty or nonexistent,” Carney said. “This is also helping a family-owned business like Ellis Farms, a poultry and grain business in Millsboro. They rely on high-speed internet to collect data and drive farming operations.”
He said more projects are scheduled to begin in Kent County in upcoming weeks.
“As more and more farmers are using modern technology to enhance their sustainable farming operations, we appreciate the efforts of the state and federal government to ensure those in areas with spotty or nonexistent internet service gain access to dependable broadband, especially in the more rural areas of Delaware,” said Richard Wilkins, Delaware Farm Bureau president.
In his address, Carney also thanked the legislators and voters in the room for helping the state continue to preserve farmland.
“We’ve preserved 134,000 acres of farmland; 25 percent of Delaware’s family farms are now preserved forever,” he said proudly.
The First State reached that milestone in 2019 as round 23 of Delaware’s Agricultural Lands Preservation Program rolled out with a new list of farms enrolled in the efforts.
Farmland preserved by these measures has been selected by Delaware’s Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation, which then purchased development rights to the land; landowners continue to own their property despite participating in this program. That allows the foundation to permanently place an agricultural conservation easement on the property.
“Delawareans and visitors alike take pride in our natural environment – from our beaches, to our Inland Bays, to our award-winning park system,” Carney said.