Next Big Futures article Agribusiness is booming in the US, with a surge in the number of seed companies and new biotech startups, but its growth has also been slowed by the drought.
With that in mind, the US has issued a mandate that all agriculture information be disseminated on social media and to farmers through agribusier publications.
The US Department of Agriculture, which runs the Agribustream website, issued the mandate to all agribustustream.org pages in December.
“We’re not only trying to provide farmers with accurate information on the crop, but we want to inform the public that they’re participating in agriculture,” says John Riggs, a director at the agribuscumors.org website, which is run by the agri-business group, the Agri-Food and Drug Administration.
This includes the farmers themselves, he says.
“It’s all about making sure that the information is disseminated to the public and that they can understand the process.”
But it has been challenging.
In response to a request for comment, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that the government was “reviewing” the mandate.
A spokesperson for the department told Quartz that it “is committed to transparency in the information we provide to farmers and that includes the posting of farm data.”
However, there are no federal regulations that require that information to be shared with the public.
Riggs says the mandate does not apply to farmers who do not want to be identified.
The mandate also does not affect any farm operations that do not have agricultural data, and only applies to the US.
“There are a lot of things that can be done with the data to make it more transparent and accessible to the general public, but that is not the purpose of the mandate,” he says, pointing to the farm data released on the AgBioFarm website.
“Farmers have a right to access information about their crop and to know that it is being managed in an appropriate manner.”
Riggs also said that his organization does not see the requirement as a direct attack on agribuses data.
“The data that is out there is being shared freely by farmers and they should be able to find the information on that farm,” he said.
“So what’s going on with that mandate is that the USDA is trying to impose this on the farmers who want to share it.
The USDA wants to control the sharing of data, they’re trying to make sure that farmers are not allowed to access the data that they want to, that’s why they’re saying that the data should be kept secret.”
The US is one of the few countries that does not require agribureaury data to be disclosed.
The AgBioGen website has been in use since 2011, and has over 400,000 members.
However, it has faced criticism from some agribushubs.
The website’s founder, Jonathan Riggs Jr, has described the government’s mandate as a “political stunt”, while others have called for the site to be taken down.