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Contributor

The Data Debate

As more and more farmers explore key takeaways being extracted from their data, a debate has been brewing over who actually owns the valuable information that lies within the numbers. For one Ohio farmer the answer is clear. “I feel all data is owned by the farmer, especially cash rented ground," he says.

 

During a recent briefing, John Deere made its position on data ownership clear. “Our customers are in control of their data,” says company representative Nicholas Shafter. “It is their information and Deere is going to be transparent with what we’re going to do with that information.”

 

Where do you stand on the data debate?

 

 

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Senior Advisor

Re: The Data Debate

Personally, I believe the data is mine.  If the landlords help pay for the equipment and/or the service, then yes we can talk about who owns the data.  I've only got 2 landlords, and they are extremely appreciative of my utilization of modern technology, but they wouldn't have a clue what to do with the data if it were theirs.

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Contributor

Re: The Data Debate

My agreement with my renter is to share yield monitor data as well as fert put back after a crop is taken out.This protects the landlord and future renters.I like to work with my renter to make both of us more money.

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Senior Advisor

Re: The Data Debate

What is the data being discussed and what is it's value?  Who "owns" the information we can find in USDA soil maps or aerial photos?  How owns the pictures we see in Google Earth?

 

John Deere said the customer controls the data but doesn't say the customer owns the data.  In my mind, and this is my own personal guess, John Deere and many others would likely feel OK aobut using aggregated data that did not have individual names attached to it.  In other words, I bet that all the soil tests samples we send in, and yield monitor info and etc would be kept and used by whoever gets their hands on it and they would claim that if your name was on it you shouldn't worry about it.  

 

We see what is happening in social media as web sites capture data and try to use it to target advertisements.  A lot of the data mining is not done with your knowledge or your permission.

 

As a landlord, I would write into the lease that I got a compelte copy of any data results from the farm, including yield data, soil samples and everything else.  That affects the rent and sale value of the farm and I want to know it.  Anyone who is not willing to give it won't get to rent my farm.

 

As a tenant, I believe I have the right to any data I pay for and I believe it is reasonable for the landlord to ask for that data if it affects the land in any way.

 

I don't believe any processor, collector, lab or anyone else has any right to the data at all unless they provide value for the data and the tenant and landlord both agree that the third party can have access to it.

 

For one thing, what would happen if a soil sample lab was asked by a law enforcement agency and delivered up data that might have come from your farm?  Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and others get these requests by the tens of thousands and they give the info in many cases without the targeted person being aware of any interest in them at all.    It sounds to me like someone could get access to your info without a search warrant.

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Honored Advisor

Re: The Data Debate

Technology has taken us beyond that point already Jim.  Much of the yield and field operations data collected now is recorded by the service provider as well as the operator.  There is no ownership right granted with the purchase of the equipment of the renting of satalite time or connectivity.  In order for many of the apps on a cell phone to work location and activity data have to be shared and is therefore available and in control of the service provider and can be used by whomever they sell it to.

 

We have already traded ownership of information for the ability to access and use it.

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