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Many farmers across the UK are being held back by inadequate broadband provision, the NFU has warned.

According to research by the body, 91 per cent of farmers consider broadband a vital tool for running their business.

However, 59 per cent of those polled said their broadband speeds are inadequate, while just nine per cent said they could receive speeds of 24Mbps or more.

Guy Smith, Vice-President of the NFU, described this as "very frustrating" for farmers, as poor connections waste their time every day and prevent them taking advantage of on-farm technology.

The NFU has therefore urged the government to ensure all farming businesses are able to access next-generation superfast broadband.

"Trade with other countries post-Brexit, both within and increasingly outside the EU, will be vital and farming businesses will expect UK digital communications to be comparable and fit for purpose to compete in this global market," Mr Smith argued.

Suzanne Clear, Senior Adviser for Planning and Rural Affairs at the NFU, added that a growing number of farmers are diversifying their income, but being held back by connectivity problems.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly, she said broadband speeds are heavily influencing both the uptake and success of some diversification projects.

For instance, she noted that farmers who are letting buildings for tourists, business use or housing are being "particularly affected" by slow broadband speeds.

Ms Clear also pointed out that better connectivity can have security benefits, as it would encourage farmers to invest in technology such as CCTV, while mobile phone messaging can help reduce crime and improve farm safety.

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