For some in the agri-food sector, particularly policy makers, scientists, processors, and technology developers it is viewed as innovative, modern, and offering farmers the ability to provide extra care for animals and the environment. However, for others, particularly farmers and consumers, it is viewed as promoting large scale, high-volume, and efficiency-driven industrialisation of farming that commodifies animals and exacerbates the disconnect between humans, animals, and the land.
This includes perceptions about the negative influence of big agritech on farmers’ ability to farm the way they want to. For example, in the past many farmers had the right to fix their own tractors but some are now reliant on the equipment companies to do this, due to the complex software and technology in the tractors, repair restrictions and IP provisions.
NZBIDA's former project lead Dr Mark Shepherd said, “The work of James and his team illustrates what a huge undertaking it is going to realise the transformational potential of digital technologies in the New Zealand agricultural sector. It’s as much about people as about the technology: farmers, processors, society (consumers and citizens), and the technology companies. These stakeholders, and in our New Zealand livestock systems, the animals themselves, have different, and at times competing, needs.”