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Bayer to use satellite imaging to modernize farming efforts

The pharmaceuticals company plans to sell these tools to farmers.
Joseph Volpe, @jrvolpe
May 31, 2016
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Marco Bello / Reuters

You probably know Bayer for its aspirin. But the multinational pharmaceutical company has its fingers in more pies that that -- it's also keen to become a force in agriculture. As part of a push to focus on its Crop Science division, the company's partnered with Planetary Resources, an aerospace tech company, to create products and services using data obtained from satellite imagery. The goal? To sell services and tools to farmers that will make agriculture more efficient and environmentally adaptable. Though the collaboration has just been announced and, therefore, no services have yet been created, Bayer's indicated a few key areas where satellite data could be beneficial: water conservation through more ideally timed irrigation; recommendations on timing for crop planting; and the ability to determine what soil will hold water best.

It's worth noting this is the same company that, in 2006, was found by the Department of Agriculture to have contaminated over 30 percent of US ricelands with its genetically-modified strain. Bayer eventually settled and paid out $750 million to farmers that were economically impacted by export trade bans. But still it serves as a reminder that big business does nothing for the sake of the greater good... just in the name of it. So take the announcement of this partnership with a grain of non-GMO rice.

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