Farmers want control of ag data, survey shows

By Spencer Chase

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 11, 2016 - Agricultural producers overwhelmingly want to be in control of the “big data” they collect and use on their operations, according to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The survey, conducted with about 400 participants the first four months of this year, showed that 77 percent of farmers are “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about the entities that can access the data generated by new precision technology on farm machinery and whether the information could be used for regulatory purposes. A similar survey in 2014 had the figure at 78 percent.

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 “It is clear that boosting farmer confidence in security and data management will be critical to unlocking the potential this technology holds,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a release.

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The survey also showed support for a data management system similar to what is being developed by Ag Data Coalition, of which AFBF is a founding member. According to the survey, 71 percent of respondents showed an interest in the style of data management ADC is working to develop, which AFBF describes as “a co-op-style repository for agricultural data, with farmers having a governing role over the group.”

Some other figures from the report:

·        -- 67 percent of producers said conditions dealing with the use and treatment of their data by an outside party is an important consideration in deciding which technologies or service providers to use;

·       --  61 percent showed concern that their data could be used by companies or individuals to influence their decisions in the marketplace;

·       -- When asked if the contracts they've signed indicate if the farmers own or control their data, 55 percent said they didn't know;

·       -- If there is to be financial benefits from the data outside of the direct on-farm value, 66 percent believe the farmer should share in the profits.

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