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Sonoma County Farm Bureau Harvests Better Network Services with Comcast Business

Companies mentioned in this article: Comcast Business

LIVERMORE, Calif., June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast Business today announced that the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, an independent, nonprofit organization representing farm and ranch families and other agricultural industry constituents in Sonoma County, California has started using Comcast Business Internet and cloud-based voice services from Comcast Business to better connect and communicate with its members and to improve organizational efficiency.

World-renowned as an epicenter of U.S. winemaking, Sonoma County produces a diverse range of agriculture products that also includes livestock, poultry, vegetables, apples, nursery plants, and grains, among others. Representing over 3,000 agriculture families in the county, 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 programs aimed at children to foster a passion for agriculture and provides scholarships to help them pursue education 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. Over time, the Internet has played an increasingly critical role in the daily operations of the bureau, from tracking weather, legislative and labor issues to collaborating with similar organizations in other counties and states. Employees also found themselves less equipped to keep lines of communication open with bureau members, including nontraditional means such as Facebook and Twitter. 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. This connection is also used to regularly update the organization's website with information relevant to local farmers and is important for the production of the Sonoma-Marin Farm News, the organization's monthly publication for members. Previously, the transfer of large media files to and from an offsite designer was restrictively slow and would overwhelm the network. The farm bureau is also using Comcast Business VoiceEdge(TM), a cloud-based voice and unified communications solution that delivers HD-quality voice service and an innovative user experience accessible via computers, desktop phones and a mobile app so bureau members can be accessible whether they are at their desk, visiting a member's farm or a 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."

About Sonoma County Farm Bureau

The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary, nonprofit organization of farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity, and social advancement, thereby promoting the national well-being. Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national, and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and not-secret in character, acting as the voice of agricultural producers at all levels.

About Comcast Business

Comcast Business, a unit of Comcast Cable, provides advanced communication solutions to help organizations of all sizes meet their business objectives. Through a next-generation network that is backed by 24/7 technical support, Comcast delivers Business Internet, Ethernet, TV and a full portfolio of Voice services for cost-effective, simplified communications management.

For more information, call 866-429-3085.

Follow us on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.

About Comcast Cable

Comcast Cable is the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to businesses and residential customers. Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings. Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

SOURCE Comcast Business