Purdue University Graduate School
2023.2.7 Douglas Abney.pdf (1.34 MB)

Broadband's Role in Agricultural Job Postings in U.S. Counties

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posted on 2023-02-07, 16:26 authored by Douglas John AbneyDouglas John Abney


This study’s purpose is to examine the relationship between broadband and online agriculture job postings. While rural broadband has been a wide studied topic, little attention has been focused on broadband’s relationship to agricultural job demand. This research uses a spatial count model that estimates agriculture and digital agriculture jobs by U.S. counties. Data was collected using the Google Jobs API developed by SerpAPI. Job advertisements were collected monthly from June 2021 through June 2022 and again in November 2022. Digital agriculture jobs postings were extracted as a subset from the overall dataset. By searching for key terms in job advertisements, context analysis filtered and identified digital agriculture jobs. Digital agriculture job openings were identified in order to examine how broadband relates to data intensive jobs in agriculture. Jobs focused in digital agriculture require increased levels of technology and increased data throughput. We hypothesized that occurrences of digital agriculture job openings would likely be reliant on broadband. Broadband data in this study represents average download speeds, average upload speeds, the percentage of households with internet access, and the percentage of the population with internet speeds at and above 100 over 20 megabits per second. The approach for modeling this data requires a hurdle negative binomial regression model as our count data encountered many zero observations and suffered from overdispersion. Spatial effects were incorporated into the model to alleviate spatial autocorrelation and help define agricultural job openings among surrounding counties. Our findings support the funding of broadband policies in agriculture. While controlling for outside factors such as demographics and county production, we found that agriculture job openings were positively influenced by broadband. However, we determined that broadband metrics show no relationship with the presence of digital agriculture job openings likely due to rarity and potential seasonality in the data. This information aids as a steppingstone for increasing the knowledge of broadband’s impact on agriculture. This study may aid in supporting future studies that seek to define causal relationships between broadband and agriculture jobs. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Agricultural Economics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Brady Brewer

Additional Committee Member 2

Nathan DeLay

Additional Committee Member 3

Roberto Gallardo