Big Data has been around for 70 years. Hard to believe given all the white hot buzz around it in the tech and agtech industries. Big data allows us to see patterns and trends that were previously unattainable. How industries use the data and who benefits from the use of that data varies greatly. Facebook, Google and others use and sell data to help marketers target products to their users. Farm At Hand is taking a different approach.
Until recently, there was no easy way of collecting agriculture data at a large enough scale to make good use or sense of it. Today, enterprise software has penetrated agriculture (along with many other industries) and farmers are using data to make better decisions. Farm data is mounting and agriculture is becoming more efficient and productive as a result. With these developments, a very important question surfaces – who owns the farmer’s data?
We built Farm At Hand for my Co-Founder’s family farm. We never set out with the intentions of building a farm software company, but here we are today! We only wanted to build a tool to help better manage Kim’s family farm and increase productivity and efficiency. From day one, we did not sell or compromise farmers data. Compromising farm data is something we would never want to happen with Kim’s family farm or any of our users’ farms for that matter. It was a given that the data that farmers entered into our program, was (and still is) owned by them, and we have never looked back.
Farmers Own Their Data!
In the few months, there has been a lot of talk in the media about who owns a farmer’s data and how it should be used. We’ve seen articles and posts warning farmers of the dangers of free apps and software and full page ads in newspapers taken out by large Ag companies talking about farm data. We love these discussions and the increased interest on the topic, it means farmers are leveraging technology to help them become more productive and successful. It’s also refreshing and validating to see these same large Ag companies finally come to the table on a topic we’ve felt so strongly about from day one at Farm At Hand. There has never been a question in our minds who owns farmer’s data – farmers own their data. Period.
Keep The Conversation Going
Farmers should join the conversation and educate themselves on their data and how it is being used. We’ve included a few resources that talk about the Agriculture Technology Providers (ATPs) document on data privacy and others (see below). We are also always around for a chat if anyone has questions. You can reach me at [email protected], or my co-founder Kim Keller at [email protected].
Articles and documents on data privacy:
A Closer Look At Who Owns Farm Data – AgWeb
Who Owns Your Data? – The Western Producer
Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data – Jensen Ag Law