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Sonoma County Farm Bureau blossoms with Comcast Business services

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 1:28pm
Mike Robuck

Comcast Business is serving up its data and cloud-based voice services to a non-profit farming organization located in the heart of the nation’s premier winemaking region.

The Sonoma County Farm Bureau will use Comcast Business’ services to keep area farmers and ranchers in Sonoma County connected with each other and the world at large.

In addition to the wineries, Sonoma County is home to a diverse range of agriculture products that also includes livestock, poultry, vegetables, apples, nursery plants, and grains, among others.

The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the state of California. Charged with preserving and protecting the agricultural lifestyle for local farmers and ranchers, the farm bureau acts as the voice of the industry to local and federal legislatures. It also provides a source of information for bureau members by phone, through seminars and workshops, online and print publications, and social media, on topics ranging from worker safety to drought conditions.

The bureau also supports agriculture programs for children and provides scholarships to help them pursue educational opportunities in that field.

Prior to working with Comcast, the bureau’s five employees relied on a legacy T1 line with 1.5 Mbps for Internet access. Due to the limited bandwidth, they often resorted to using their personal mobile devices to access the Internet when their office connection was too slow.

“As advocates for our local agricultural community, we need to constantly be aware of any legislation or local issues that could potentially affect our members, so that we can provide the guidance and support they need to help our community thrive,” said Steven Knudsen, communications and development coordinator for the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. “With lots of bandwidth and multi-device, ‘be anywhere’ voice services from Comcast Business, our network has shifted from an operational burden to a platform for productivity so we can focus all of our attention on the issues that matter to the local agricultural industry most.”

Comcast deployed a 50 Mbps Comcast Business Internet service to provide online access for employees to conduct research, create materials, collaborate with other organizations and communicate with members.

The farm bureau is also using Comcast Business VoiceEdge, a cloud-based voice and unified communications platform that delivers HD-quality voice service and an a user experience accessible via computers, desktop phones and a mobile app so bureau members can be accessible whether they are at their desk, out in a farmer’s field or in legislator’s office in Sacramento.

“In the agricultural industry, even the most experienced farmers face some level of uncertainty each year due to weather conditions, market demand and legislation, so organizations like the Sonoma County Farm Bureau are critical for helping their members make informed decisions to help their growth and profitability,” said Ted Girdner, vice president at Comcast Business, California region. “The bureau is a great example of how nonprofit organizations with a handful of employees and limited budgets can use technology to increase productivity and better serve their membership through multi-channel communications and programs.”

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