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Farmers Concerned About Analog-TV Cutoff

3/15/2005 8:36 AM Eastern

Farming groups have formed a coalition designed to inform Congress about the risks to rural Americans associated with the turnoff of analog-TV signals Dec. 31, 2006.

“A deadline of Dec. 31, 2006, for the transition would hurt farmers and other rural citizens given that rural Americans depend heavily on over-the-air television service for news, weather and reports on local commodity markets,” the Alliance for Rural Television said in a statement Tuesday.

The United States has about 20 million households that rely exclusive on free, over-the-air broadcasting.

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) said Tuesday that he is a few months away from unveiling a bill that would end the transition to digital-only TV by the end of next year.

ART said that in recent talks with members of Congress, it expressed the view that many farmers did not have the means to acquire digital-reception equipment and recommended that lawmakers include a digital-TV-equipment subsidy in Barton’s bill.

“Many farm families will not be able to afford to purchase the equipment that will be necessary to receive digital signals, and [ART] urged members of Congress to adopt a subsidy or other mechanism to ensure that all Americans have access to digital television following the transition,” ART said.

ART includes the American Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Organization, the National Farmers Union, the National Grange, the Soybean Producers of America and Women Involved in Farm Economics.

 

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