Farm Data Issues

Jason Tatge, writing recently at TechCrunch Online, indicated that, “Farmers are adopting smart-sensor technologies and connected farm equipment more quickly than ever, stretching each season to eke out greater yield from finite acreage.

“This rise in so-called precision agriculture has precipitated a massive influx in unstructured ‘bushels to bytes’ farm data, creating new opportunities for an industry that has previously operated solely in the physical realm.”

Mr. Tatge explained that, “Specifically, ownership and control of agronomic and equipment data is understood to have dramatic escalating value. Which seed varieties were the most successful and where? Which plant populations performed best? Whose recommendations (e.g. nitrogen programs) outperformed their peers?”

The article stated that, “Farm data is expected to be a $20–$25 billion revenue opportunity, but we haven’t yet determined how the data can be collected, structured, stored and shared, let alone monetized.

“Today, there are no clear-cut guidelines regarding the privacy of the data, nor its ownership and control. Many different players impose contractual obligations in fine print, but few are likely to stick until there is wide-reaching agreement on what’s appropriate.”

And, Mr. Tatge also pointed out that, “There is reason to feel optimistic. Over the past several months, 37 industry participants have taken a seat at the table to contribute to the creation of the Transparency Evaluator, an important tool built to bring transparency to farm data agreements.”

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