WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2015 – With the right tools, farmers can make a profit from their farm’s data, Jason Tatge, CEO and co-founder of FarMobile, a farm data storage company, told members of the American Farm Bureau Federation at the group’s recent convention in San Diego. He said farmers will eventually be able to dictate the terms of sale of their data to large agricultural companies.
He noted that large companies like Monsanto are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy up technology firms, proving that they see incredible value in farm data. But he said farmers currently lack the means to protect their data. “Without a safeguard, (Big Data) could manipulate margins,” he explained. “Our goal is to get the revenue stream back to the growers.”
He said he expects his company, FarMobile, to be the first of many to mediate this process. “Farmer data rights are the Wild West,” Tatge said. “FarMobile wants to be the place for neutrality.”
AFBF, which in November joined 11 other major farm organizations and technology providers in agreeing to a set of data privacy and security principles, gave Tatge’s company an endorsement of sorts.
“Jason's system is unique because he truly puts the farmer in the forefront,” said AFBF congressional policy expert Mary Kay Thatcher. “FarMobile isn't using your data, but simply collecting it and helping you to monetize your asset.”
FarMobile provides farmers with a device that can be plugged into a tractor to gather data including fuel economy, speed, direction and products being applied. The information is then directed to an electronic file that can be accessed at the farmer’s discretion.
Once this data is in the system, FarMobile can facilitate deals between farmers and agricultural companies by allowing companies to make offers to purchase the farmer’s data. According to Tatge, this is the main way farmers can start to turn a profit on their data.
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