Under the Microscope: Innovative pavement, big data in ag

Jun 5, 2014

Credit (tpsdav/pixabay)

Coming up we’ll take a look and how big data and agriculture are finding themselves intertwined with questions about privacy.

But first, backers of the so-called “right to farm” ballot initiative are campaigning around Missouri this week.  The proposed constitutional amendment is designed to limit regulations on farmers and ranchers.  Supporters say family-run farms and ranches in Missouri are being threatened by environmental and animal rights activists, and by bureaucrats in Washington who want to, quote, “overregulate” agriculture.  Former Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell disagrees – he operates a hog farm in central Missouri and represents the Humane Society of the United States:

“This initiative isn’t about protecting Missouri’s family farmers,” he says. “This is about protecting large agricultural interests, and they want constitutional protection like no other company has in the state of Missouri or in this country. They want protection to do what they want on our countryside, and to animals, to farmers, and to the environment.”

The proposal has the support of four Republican U-S Representatives, who are campaigning for it around the state this week.  Missouri voters will decide on the proposed constitutional amendment during the August primary.

Now, you may have heard about the new pavement the City of Columbia is trying out. It allows drainage through connected bricks. KBIA's Maureen Lewis-Stump recently visited the construction site of this new, innovative drainage system.

The next revolution in agriculture could center around data.

Some call it big data others precision farming but the idea is that all the information about what goes in… and comes out of fields could help growers make better decisions.

Agribusiness companies such as Monsanto and DuPont are introducing new services to do just that.

But as Maria Altman reports, questions remain over whether it's a smart move for farmers to share information with agribusiness.