(Mankato, MN) – A regional farmers co-op says it will help bridge the digital divide in rural southern Minnesota as more residents stay home to work and learn online.

Mankato-based Crystal Valley announced Monday that it would provide guest Wi-Fi access to area residents in the parking lots of its Darfur, Trimont, and Waldorf locations.  The co-op says the initiative is part of a larger effort by Land O’Lakes, of which it is a member

Crystal Valley CEO Roger Kienholz said the co-op evaluated its territory and determined which three locations had the most limited access.  But people in other Crystal Valley communities that need service should contact human resources at (507) 726-6455.

“As millions of Americans shift to work and school from home and increasingly look to telehealth for critical healthcare services, the urgent need for internet connectivity in rural America has never been so dire,” said Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes.

Community members can access Wi-Fi from their vehicles from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Guests are asked to stay in their vehicles while using the service.

A trial run of the WiFi service started Monday, and is anticipated to last through the end of May.




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