Source: Janzen Ag Law

As 2019 draws to a close, I enjoy looking back at the ag tech stories from the past year. Here are the highlights from the Janzen Ag Law Blog in 2019.

Climate Change. Not too long ago, climate change seemed to be an issue that farmers wanted to ignore. I think that changed in 2019 because for many, climate change is starting to look like an opportunity for farmers. Trump may have pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, but the reality is that food processors are reducing the carbon footprint of their supply chains. Carbon markets are being developed and are going to be powered by ag data.

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 utility tractor. As climate change drives changes on the farm, we are going to see more electric-powered machines in the year ahead.


Tesla Cybertruck


John Deere electric and autonomous tractor concept.

Which 2019 concept will we see first on the farm: Tesla Cybertruck or John Deere electric tractor?

Livestock Tech. Perhaps because I attended the first ever Swine Innovation Summit, but I think we are starting to see livestock-tech catch up with row-crop tech. The fake-meat Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger both went mainstream in 2019 with much fan-fare. These alternative proteins are forcing the livestock industry to do a self-assessment and figure out ways to be better stewards of the land, reduce meat’s carbon footprint, and improve animal welfare. New technology plays a big role here.

Model Ag Data Use Agreement. One of my highlights from 2019 was the ability to release a “model” ag data use agreement. Attorneys never give away their forms, but that’s exactly what I did. Why? Because I am tired of so many companies not understanding farmers’ issues with ag data. It has been downloaded dozens of times and I can honestly say, has helped more than one company address ag data issues.

In spite of tariffs, trade, and weather problems, 2019 was a remarkable year for ag tech.