, Microsoft, and Terranova Ranch announced new precision technology.
Terranova Ranch hosted a precision irrigation demonstration. (Photo:

Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice, Terranova Ranch, and Microsoft introduced an AgriTech partnership at Terranova Ranch last month, demonstrating a broadband solution to control the amount of water farmers and ranchers use. A diverse audience of agriculture industry experts, governmental institutions, and agriculture education organizations attended the event and subsequent demonstration.  

The precision irrigation technology ran a test program at Terranova Ranch in Fresno County, automating water pumps through low bandwidth radio technology. Precision agriculture requires a seamless integration of technologies in order to maximize crop productivity, a press release from explained. 

According to Jack Barker, CEO of, water and broadband are the two most important factors for the Central Valley’s future. 

“First—God and Sacramento appear to control the amount of water—and it’s pretty hard to influence either of those,” Barker said. “But I think we can control how much we use and what we get for it.” 

Baker explained that this technology will enable farmers to collect field sensor data, transmit it to the cloud, and return to the water pump and valve with instructions to deliver the exact amount of water needed.  

In order to implement this technology, Barker underscored the importance of’s pervasive internet availability to expand its reach to Terranova’s tomato field. According to Don Cameron, president of Terranova Ranch, the project utilizes both broadband and automation to improve crop yields and gather data to share with the broader agricultural community. 

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of the Central Valley, and water is the lifeblood of agriculture,” Cameron said at the event. “Our quest for years has been to increase stewardship of water through innovative technologies and approaches.”  

Due to increased water scarcity and regulation, precision ag techniques hope to expand upon efficient water usage as well as improving run times, trackability, and crop yield. Its technological advancement takes three forms—standards-based technology, low-bandwidth radio, and ubiquitous internet availability.  

Barker explained that, through standards-based technology, solutions would avoid dependence on a single supplier, and provide capability at the lowest possible cost. Further, the use of low-bandwidth radios to collect data from field sensors expects to minimize waste.’s expansion of broadband infrastructure showed the leverage of cloud-based AgTech to make informed decisions about resource allocation—providing a sustainable solution to maintain water resources. 

CONNECTIVITY GAP and Microsoft partnered to expand broadband access across 22 counties through the Airband Initiative, which includes a significant number of agriculture enterprise customers. At the event, presenters explained that their digital partnership improves agriculture data management for farm enterprises to implement efficient water irrigation and crop management. 

Despite the abundance of Central Valley produce, affordable high-speed internet connection is difficult to come by which means most residents are not able to utilize precision agriculture applications. This is referred to as the connectivity gap, a press release from Microsoft explained. 

Microsoft’s partnership with plans to equip small internet service providers with the means to provide large-scale access to precision agriculture technology in rural communities.  

“ is one of our most active partners in our effort to expand broadband access to unserved and rural population in California,” Jasmine Thomas, senior director of Microsoft Airband Initiative said, “We appreciate their commitment to bringing digital skills training to rural communities and schools, as well as developing and sharing agricultural data management solutions with growers in the region.” 

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