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Chad Rupe's Rural Cloud Initiative appointment bolsters rural edge connectivity

Former USDA administrator will sit on the advisory council

Farmer in a field looking at a tablet

Chad Rupe, the former Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service administrator, has been appointed to the Advisory Council for Rural Edge Solutions (ACRES).

The Rural Cloud Initiative (RCI) announced Rupe’s appointment, who served as administrator from April 2019 to January 2021. The organization said he’d bring “unparalleled rural industry and legislative insight to the RCI”.

ACRES comprises industry influencers, operators, and stakeholders representing rural technology. Rupe joins the team to drive technological development and deployment for rural industries.

The Rural Cloud Initiative is a coalition of over 65 network and technology partners deploying edge solutions across a unified, distributed cloud covering 1.5 million square miles of rural America, providing infrastructure for 5G, agriculture, and energy solutions. 

George Woodward, CEO of Trilogy Network, said Rupe would be a “tremendous addition to ACRES, a marquee collection of industry thought leaders”.

 "Over the past 15 years, he has served the rural community in a variety of executive and federal agency positions and thus possesses a deep understanding of the resources and challenges facing the nation's rural industries,” said Woodward.

“His work over the past decade has been instrumental to the beginning of the digital transformation of rural America. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his service and are excited to have his expertise as we work to bring next-generation high-speed data connectivity to rural industries – including potentially more than 2,000,000 farms – nationwide."

Rupe said he’d “support Rural America with a dedicated and independent voice to provide the tools for building rural economies with modern technology and realize all the benefits it offers.”

"The professional network that the Rural Cloud Initiative provides is exactly what is needed to close the digital divide and I am honored to join the crew,” he added.

Last year, the RCI completed the first phase of its first Farm of the Future deployment at Hurst Greenery in Westboro, Missouri. The pilot used precision agriculture applications, including sensors, monitoring devices, satellite mapping solutions, drones, and even robots, to increase farming efficiency and profit. 

It also deployed a platform interface to connect an array of IoT applications, establishing the LinX network for long-haul connectivity and providing distributed cloud capability via the ConEx edge cloud platform. Trilogy Networks collaborated with nine other Rural Cloud Initiative members to complete this initial phase.

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