The Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois is underway and farmers will be in search of new ideas and new technology. Among the offerings is a glimpse at Monsanto’s new FieldScripts. On a recent visit to West Lafayette Dr. Robb Fraley, Chief Technology Officer at Monsanto, told HAT that product is part of the prescription for farmers to feed the growing world population.
“It’s really the beginning of combining the advances we’ve seen in biology, the advances in biotech traits now, with the data that’s available on that farm and on that field and that field history, and matching and tailoring how to grow that corn crop most optimally. FieldScripts, our first product that we’ll launch next year, basically provides a better tool for selecting which hybrid should be on which field.”
But at its annual delegate session Saturday, Indiana Farm Bureau essentially said it wants to see legislation that will protect farmers’ farm specific data as private property and IFB president Don Villwock announced during the session that he will travel to the Farm Progress Show this week to talk with Monsanto about that issue.
“Farmers are a little bit concerned about who owns their data. We share that data quite often with our fertilizer dealers and now our seed dealers want to have that data, and all I think in good faith that they want to help us fine tune our operations. And that’s fine. I think farmers appreciate that, but there are some that are fearful that that data could be shared with somebody else other than just for agronomic use.”
Villwock says it will take time to build momentum on the issue, but he expects that it will build.
“I think that it will be addressed at AFBF this winter in San Antonio at our annual meeting, and so I think it’s important. AFBF can visit with the technology companies as we move forward to see if we can get some kind of guarantee by them that this is proprietary information and not to be shared past just the agronomic needs of an individual farmer.”
Fraley is a 2013 World Food Prize Laureate and you can hear more from him in the HAT interview:Dr Robb Fraley
In other Indiana delegate business Villwock was pleased to see reaffirmed support of eliminating direct payments to farmers, but he added their position also makes clear that savings there should be directed to shoring up the crop insurance program. Hear his comments here:Don Villwock delegate wrapup