Bloomberg Businessweek

A Bumper Crop Of Information

Seed and fertilizer makers gather data from thousands of farms—and sell it back to growers

For six generations, Ben Riensche’s family has tended corn and soybeans outside Jesup, a town of 2,500 on the windswept plains of eastern Iowa. But today he’s harvesting a valuable new crop from his 12,000 acres: information. “The future is simply data analytics and tech,” says Riensche, who still has his grandfather’s handwritten notebooks containing everything from the bushels of corn he brought in to the number of eggs the chickens laid. In the half-dozen years since he signed up for a data analysis service from Climate Corp.,

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