White paper urges ag data modernization

The Agriculture Department should be a leader in facilitating data collection, utilization, sharing and research, said the AGree farm policy initiative and the Data Foundation on Tuesday. "The time has come for USDA and the policy community to consider how to accomplish the joint objective of protecting critical data while also allowing its use to answer critical questions," said the organizations in a white paper that encouraged interagency sharing of information.

As more meatpacking workers fall ill from Covid-19, meat companies decline to disclose data

As Covid-19 has swept through meatpacking facilities, it has been hard to figure out exactly how many workers have gotten sick or died of the virus. Some companies have shared numbers on positive cases, but most of the largest meatpackers have kept that data private. Critics say that the lack of disclosure puts public health at risk, especially as nearly all idled meat plants reopen. (No paywall)

USDA has chronic data issues, experts say

The Department of Agriculture under President Trump has repeatedly rolled out policies and program changes without accurate data, a report from Politico found. From trade war bailouts to cutting food stamp benefits to relocating essential USDA agencies, several members of Congress, experts, …

Syngenta moves deeper into farm data

Syngenta yesterday announced its acquisition of FarmShots, a North Carolina-based data company that assesses plant health and other farm conditions. The acquisition marks the latest move by seed and ag-chemical companies to grow their presence in the farm data sector.

Farmers take back control of big data

In what amounts to a revolt against the data-gathering initiatives of companies like Monsanto and Dupont, farmers are increasingly using sensors and other technology to gather their own data from their fields--and either crunching it themselves, selling it to aggregators and other ag-industry players, or both.

The ‘Internet of Things’ comes to the farm

Precision agriculture and big data are familiar concepts in the world of farming. Now, the "Internet of Things" - devices with sensors that transmit data and respond to instructions via a digital network - is being sized up for agriculture.

Crop scouting and data-gathering will be ag drones’ domain

Drone aircraft are a natural fit for data-hungry precision agriculture, helping growers fine-tune their operations and maximize income, says private consulting group Informa, which estimates the gains at $12 an acre for corn, $2.60 for soybeans and $2.25 for wheat.

Rural poor suffer in drought; tech wizards offer water apps

"For many Californians, the state’s long drought has meant small inconveniences such as shorter showers and restrictions on watering lawns.

USDA asks comment on release of food-stamp sales data

USDA set a 35-day public comment period on how to comply with an appellate court decision for release of records showing a retailer's food stamp sales.

Wetlands have role in methane production

A study by a University of Guelph researcher, published in Global Change Biology, says wetlands are the likely source of a recent and surprising increase in emissions of methane.

How much of grocer revenue comes from food stamps?

The government could soon be required to make public how much a retailer or a specific store records in food stamp sales, says a story in Mother Jones and produced in partnership with the Food and Environment Reporting Network; a longer version appears at

Crop insurance, direct payments favor different states

The 2014 farm law ended the direct-payment subsidy and made crop insurance the major farm support. For most states, there is little difference in the state's share of the receipts.

House Ag leaders unveil CFTC reauthorization bill

Four House Agriculture Committee leaders filed a bill to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. A mark up is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET. The meeting will be Webcast.

“Rationality of choices in subsidized crop insurance”

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State Univ releases a report on crop insurance selection by growers.