Monsanto gets into data farming -

One of the most powerful agricultural businesses in the known world, Monsanto, has decided to expand into the IT industry.

More famous for creating genetically modified crops, suing farmers who illegally grow its seeds, and having lots of its former employees in good government jobs, Monsanto is the world’s largest agricultural business company.

But this week it bought weather analytics firm Climate Corporation for over $930 Million, although Techcrunch thinks the figure is much higher, claiming it is more like $1.1 billion.

Climate Corp focuses on predicting hyper-local weather patterns using custom machine-learning algorithms, and then recommending crop insurance and risk-management products.

But Monsanto wants the company - founded in 2006 by a team of software engineers and data scientists who previously worked at Google - to get its foot in the door for its new data farming business.

Monsanto has an Integrated Farming Systems division, which uses big data to help farmers plant and harvest crops more efficiently.

Weather tracking will help its efforts and allow Monsanto to better market its genetically engineered crop seeds.

But it is big data and a custom risk-management analytics system will provide the outfit of a reliable new source of revenue from Monsanto’s farming customers.