Lynsey Grosfield

Lynsey Grosfield

Naturalist, Photographer, & Writer

I run a popular gardening, ecology, and agriculture blog, regularly write for horticultural and agricultural publications, and do copywriting on "green" topics.

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Who owns your tractor?

Recently, Deere & Co.--the company that manufactures John Deere farming equipment--struck a deal with Monsanto in order to use both hardware and software from a subsidiary company called Precision Planting LLC.

These components, added to tractors and combines, wirelessly transmit data on things like soil, crop performance, and regional weather to Monsanto’s Climate Corp. unit.

This is the age of digital agriculture, where technology mediates many decision-making processes. In many ways, these kinds of technologies will make agriculture more efficient, making more rational and precise decisions than a human could alone. However, there are challenges lurking for farmers looking at high-tech equipment, particularly for smaller-scale producers.

Wired magazine recently described these computerized tractors as a “nightmare” for farmers.