Farmers fear Monsanto is collecting too much crop data

by Rachel Baker on March 5, 2014

Farmers are having a serious concern about how much Monsanto is infiltrating their industry.

Big data has come to the farm. The world’s two largest seed sellers, Monsanto and DuPont, are building “prescriptive planting” technology that will take in detailed data from farmers and spit out precise guidelines for planting. The upside is that farmers can use the algorithmic advice to easily identify things like the best soil for the best seeds, the amount of fertilizer needed, and optimal density for planting.

Some farmers and agricultural organizations are worried about the amount of control the industry is ceding to megacorporations, however. Farmers today rely heavily on algorithms and iPads to automate their planting, and that data is easily harvested. Deere even signed a contract to beam data directly from its tractors to DuPont and Dow Chemical, reports The Wall Street Journal. Furthermore, the new technology could price struggling small farmers out of business.

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