The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasing rapidly in all areas of our economy and society in the United States and around the globe. However, the full integration of this technology is still a ways away, and its application in agriculture and food production and processing is still in the early stages. How agriculture uses this new technology as well as the desire of some in Washington, D.C., to set up regulatory controls over it are all policy questions that must be answered.
By the end of this decade, it is projected that AI will increase global economic growth by $13 trillion. While its uses in the medical, financial, and general business sectors are more apparent, the use of AI in agriculture is less obvious. Today, approximately 200 AI-based agricultural startup companies are located in the United States. From autonomous farm machinery and autonomous sprayers to drones that collect potential crop health, pest, and yield data, agriculture is in the beginning stages of substantial growth in the use of AI by farmers and ranchers.
At the same time, as growth of new AI technologies continues to accelerate, questions surrounding data access and security, labor, and potential regulatory controls are all being considered. In 2022, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce formed the Commission on AI Competitiveness, Inclusion, and Innovation. The commission ultimately concluded that some level of federal regulation of AI should exist because leaving the technology completely unregulated could harm the economy, diminish individual rights, and constrain the development and introduction of beneficial technologies. As other countries, including China, continue to quickly push forward toward more AI development and integration, the commission concluded that the United States must take the lead to promote responsible AI deployment around the globe.
From an agricultural standpoint, just one plant or one animal can provide millions and millions of individual data points on health, weather, nutrition, waste, etc. The data in turn can be used to help farmers and ranchers make improvements in every aspect of production, leading to better overall efficiency including decreased use of water and pest control products. Fast-forward to harvest when the integration of better AI technology in combines could result in automatic machine adjustments rather than manual ones. Animal health and nutrition determinations could be analyzed to help livestock producers ensure cattle, hogs, and poultry are all healthy and growing and help producers make better production decisions.
FARM BUREAU POLICY
- #102 The Constitution, Pg. 2
- (We Oppose) “The use of any Artificial Intelligence to impact or compromise constitutionally protected individual rights and liberties or those that compromise national or industrial security and their autonomy.
- What is the federal government’s role in regulating AI?
- Should specific rules/regulations be developed related to AI use in agriculture?
- Should data management/ownership rules/regulations be developed related to AI?