Protecting Farmers and Consumers
Representative Randy Feenstra, whose district is predominantly rural, has introduced a bill to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in agriculture. The bill, known as the Farm Tech Act, aims to ensure that new technologies in the agricultural sector meet the highest industry standards and are safe for both farmers and consumers.
Enhancing Efficiency and Lowering Costs
Feenstra believes that AI has the potential to revolutionize the farming industry by improving efficiency, lowering input costs, and safeguarding the health of livestock and poultry. However, he also recognizes the need for proper oversight and certification to ensure that these technologies perform as expected.
Verification by the USDA
The Farm Tech Act would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to verify the legitimacy and effectiveness of agricultural software and other technologies used on farms. This verification process would protect farmers from faulty or misleading technologies and provide consumers with reassurance about the safety and reliability of AI-driven innovations in agriculture.
A Bipartisan Effort
The bill has garnered bipartisan support, with Representative David Valadao and Representative Eric Sorensen joining Feenstra as co-sponsors. Valadao emphasizes the importance of ensuring the safety of new tools like AI in agriculture, highlighting the need to protect both consumers and producers.
The Ongoing Debate
This year has witnessed a surge in AI-related legislation in Congress as lawmakers grapple with the rapid advancement of technology. However, there is still ongoing debate surrounding the extent and manner of regulation needed for AI. The Farm Tech Act represents a step towards finding the right balance between innovation and safety in the agricultural sector.