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John Deere partners with SpaceX to expand rural connectivity

By Stephen Elliott

January 21, 2024

John DeereJohn Deere partners with SpaceX, Moline, Ill., has entered into an agreement with SpaceX, Hawthorne, Calif., to provide satellite communications (SATCOM) service to farmers. Utilizing the Starlink network, the solution will allow farmers facing rural connectivity challenges to fully leverage precision agriculture technologies, the company said.

“The value of connectivity to farmers is broader than any single task or action. Connectivity unlocks vast opportunities that were previously limited or unavailable,” said Aaron Wetzel, vice president of production and precision ag production systems, John Deere. “For example, throughout the year, farmers must complete tasks within extremely short windows of time. This requires executing incredibly precise production steps while coordinating between machines and managing machine performance. Each of these areas are enhanced through connectivity, making the entire operation more efficient, effective and profitable.”

The SATCOM solution will connect both new and existing machines through satellite internet service and ruggedized satellite terminals. This is designed to fully enable technologies such as autonomy, real-time data sharing, remote diagnostics, enhanced self-repair solutions, and machine-to-machine communication, all of which help farmers work more efficiently while minimizing downtime.

John Deere’s SATCOM solution will leverage SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet constellation.  To activate this solution, John Deere dealers will install a ruggedized Starlink terminal on compatible machines, along with a 4G LTE JDLink modem to connect the machine to the John Deere Operations Center. The SATCOM solution will initially be available through a limited release in the United States and Brazil starting in the second half of 2024.