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yet2, on behalf of our client, Archer Daniels Midland Company, is administering the recently announced licensing program for ADM’s newly reissued patents that broadly cover the process of evaluating agricultural commodity conditions using aerial image data. The process disclosed in the patents is already being used and is expected to be widely adopted in the years to come.


ADM believes the patents licenses are essential and will be of great interest to all companies and organizations in agriculture wishing to offer aerial imaging systems and/or services for crop management, monitoring, assessment and insights.

ADM has patented the acquisition, processing and use of aerial imaging data (using manned and/or unmanned aircraft) for the purpose of forecasting crop production in regions of interest. Initially this technology was used for resource planning of crop processing facilities, boxcars for transport, storage space, etc. Subsequently, the solution was further developed to provide assessment of crop damage for their insurance division, ADM Crop Risk Services. ADM partnered with with software development and drone companies to author the algorithms. In 2015 and in 2018 ADM continued to broaden the patent coverage for assessing overall crop health, filing and receiving reissued patents.

IP Portfolio

The ADM IP is protected under two re-issued US patents:

  • US RE47,742 E is also a re-issue of “Evaluating Commodity Conditions Using Aerial Image Data”

AIG Crop Risk Services has a paid-up non-exclusive license for use in crop insurance applications.

Patent Description

Patent Abstract: “Various tools, strategies and techniques are provided for evaluating the condition of one or more commodities in one or more regions of interest. Collection of image data associated with the commodities can be facilitated through use of an aircraft traveling a predetermined travel route over the regions of interest. The collected image data may be analyzed to evaluate the condition of the commodities, forecast commodity production, and/or to perform other tasks.”

For the convenience of the reader we have incorporated one of the key claims (49) from the patent:

  • A method for evaluating the condition of an agricultural commodity, the method comprising:
  • Identifying one or more geographical regions of interest that has been a site for production of the agricultural commodity;
  • Obtaining a drone* equipped with an image data acquisition system capable of collecting data;
  • Tasking the drone to fly along a travel route that is developed so that the drone travels across the one or more geographical regions of interest;
  • Tasking the drone to fly along the travel route over the one or more geographical regions of interest and having the drone collect image data over the one or more geographical regions of interest crossed over by the drone;
  • Using an image processing device to analyze the collected image data to determine at least one of a type and a condition of one or more commodities in the one or more geographical regions of interest; and
  • Wherein developing the travel route further comprises using an algorithm to assess and emphasize regions of importance in terms of production;
  • Further comprising collecting the image data, while the aircraft travels along its travel route, based on a factor selected from the group consisting of speed of the aircraft, desired resolution of the image data, altitude of the aircraft, type of photographic equipment employed to collect the image data, and data storage capacity of one or more data storage media for storing the collected image data.

* Claim 17 refers to aircraft.  

Technology and Product Development and Other Assets

There are no other assets or product development services available directly from ADM.

Partnership Opportunities

ADM is considering a variety of licensing deal structures designed to encourage companies having strategic interests in this space to retain, maintain and build on their market positions.

We believe that the following prospective licensees will have strategic reasons to want to obtain a license:

  • Crop Insurance Providers
  • Precision Agriculture Solution Providers
  • Crop Monitoring Solution Providers
  • Digital Yield Estimation Service Providers
  • Others

Company Overview

Archer Daniels Midland is a $65B, 38,100-person global leader in human and animal nutrition and a top tier food processing and crop procurement company founded in 1902.

Further Information

Copies of the patents as well as additional information not subject to confidentiality requirements will be provided to prospective licensees/acquirers having credible interest.

For questions, requests for additional information and follow-up, please contact: Kimberly Ayers, Innovation Services Manager, Monetization and Scouting

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