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Latest from Janzen Ag Law Blog

Almost no one reads tech contracts (privacy policies, EULAs, terms of service, etc.) This fact has led tech providers to go overboard, creating long and complex agreements. This makes users even less likely to read the agreements, and bolsters the tech provider’s belief that no one cares about what they sign. It is an endless, shameful, cycle. However, this cycle breaks when something goes wrong and users start to ask questions. That’s what happened this…
I first read the article in Car and Driver, an automotive publication, which titled the story: “Midwest Farmers are Tired of Tech-Loaded Tractors They Can’t Fix.” As someoe that writes about agtech, this sort of Luddite-themed headline grabbed my attention. Are farmers really ditching new high-tech tractors for 1970s and 1980s models? The original Star-Tribune article explains why older equipment does appeal to some Midwestern farmers: The other big draw of the older…
Electrifying the Farm. In November, Elon Musk rolled out the electric Tesla Cybertruck, and though I am still uncertain how many of these we’ll see on the farm, I am certain we will see more electric equipment. The ag industry is long behind the automotive industry in delivering all-electric equipment. But that is slowly changing. Deere unveiled an electric tractor at Agritechnica, as well as an electric garden tractor. Fendt already sells an electric…
The Trump administration recently announced that the US intended to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement was a global accord in which participating countries agreed to work to limit global warming this century to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement has been signed by 195 countries, including the US. The US is the first major country to announce its intent to withdraw. The effect of withdrawal from…
In 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower led a military convoy across the United States, from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. The excursion took 62 days and left a lasting impression on Eisenhower. After seeing the Autobahns that Germany had successfully built prior to the Second World War, Eisenhower decided to make creation of an interstate highway system a priority for his administration. In 1956, the Interstate Highway Act was passed…
It has become common for tech conferences to have Shark-Tank style competitions among new startups. The winner is awarded an investment from the conference host or supporting venture capital firm. In the case of the Forbes AgTech Summit, SVG Ventures selected two swine-focused agtech startups, BinSentry and SwineTech. Each will receive a $100,000 investment. Notably, this was the first agtech conference I’ve attended where both winners were from the swine industry, and that made…
Indianapolis hosted the Swine Innovation Summit this week. The event was sponsored by the National Pork Boardto lead the discussion on how macro-trends are affecting the swine industry. Livestock tech is often overlooked by entrepreneurs, so here is my summary of the event: Pork Checkoff 4.0. Any Brudtkuhl from National Pork Board (NPB) began by pointing out that we are now in the beginning of the fourth big agricultural revolution. “Agriculture 4.0” will usher in…
Tesla recently announced that the Model 3 would now be available as a “100% leather-free” model, meaning that no leather was used in the interior. When hearing this, at first I thought, “Well that’s interesting.” But later I realized, there was nothing really unique about this announcement. Let me explain the good, the bad, and the meaninglessness of this news. A Good Idea. Leather has been fashionable in cars for years. You can get leather…
We are starting to see some opportunities for farmers to get paid for sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Payment can come in different forms, grants for farmstead improvements, cash per acre where certain ways of farming are practiced, or premiums for products grown or raised a certain way. What I am most interested in are the opportunities for the farmer to get paid for raising livestock or growing crops a certain “climate-friendly”…
Most farmers pay a third party platform to store their ag data. That does not make farmers unique—most companies using cloud-based platforms are paying for data storage. I pay Apple to store my data in the iCloud. But what makes farmers unique is that there has always been an expectation that their data would have value to third parties, and that value should flow (or at least trickle) back to the farmer. However, there are…