Acting like an algorithm: digital farming platforms and the trajectories they (need not) lock-in

Agriculture and Human Values 37 (4):1041-1053 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper contributes to our understanding of farm data value chains with assistance from 54 semi-structured interviews and field notes from participant observations. Methodologically, it includes individuals, such as farmers, who hold well-known positionalities within digital agriculture spaces—platforms that include precision farming techniques, farm equipment built on machine learning architecture and algorithms, and robotics—while also including less visible elements and practices. The actors interviewed and materialities and performances observed thus came from spaces and places inhabited by, for example, farmers, crop scientists, statisticians, programmers, and senior leadership in firms located in the U.S. and Canada. The stability of “the” artifacts followed for this project proved challenging, which led to me rethinking how to approach the subject conceptually. The paper is animated by a posthumanist commitment, drawing heavily from assemblage thinking and critical data scholarship coming out of Science and Technology Studies. The argument’s understanding of “chains” therefore lies on an alternative conceptual plane relative to most commodity chain scholarship. To speak of a data value chain is to foreground an orchestrating set of relations among humans, non-humans, products, spaces, places, and practices. The paper’s principle contribution involves interrogating lock-in tendencies at different “points” along the digital farm platform assemblage while pushing for a varied understanding of governance depending on the roles of the actors and actants involved.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,749

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Digitalization and the third food regime.Louisa Prause, Sarah Hackfort & Margit Lindgren - 2020 - Agriculture and Human Values 38 (3):641-655.
Women, race and place in US Agriculture.Ryanne Pilgeram, Katherine Dentzman & Paul Lewin - 2022 - Agriculture and Human Values 39 (4):1341-1355.


Added to PP

44 (#359,421)

6 months
18 (#191,767)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?