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article imageFarmers concerned by large Monsanto data collection

By Michael Thomas     Feb 26, 2014 in Business
While farmers are already heavily reliant on algorithms and tablets for planning their seed-planting, they are concerned that big seed sellers like DuPont and Monsanto could be cashing in on an orgy of crop data.
A report from The Verge explains that Monsanto and DuPont, the two largest seed sellers in the world, are building "prescriptive planting" technology, which will use data gathered by farmers to map out seed-planting schedules.
Farmers could use this technology to determine the best seeds for soil, and Monsanto estimates that it could boost crop outputs by $20 billion annually. However, farmers are concerned about the amount of control being given to mega-corporations, not to mention the privacy issues that go along with it. As well, the data could be used to persuade farmers to buy more and more seed, which could drive them out of business.
That being said, the Los Angeles Times yesterday pointed out that prescriptive planting could help drought-ravaged areas, like California. The drought there is apparently so bad that Marin Sun Farms, pioneers in grass-fed beef, are going to be feeding some cattle grain instead, as there isn't enough grass to keep all of their livestock alive. Texas is seeing similar drought problems.
More about Monsanto, big data, John deere, Dupont, Farming
 
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