Farmers, Ag Tech Providers Strike Big Data Agreement

A meticulously negotiated agreement outlines areas of concern that will guide cooperation and evolution over the next four to five years.

by Bob Gore / December 10, 2014

 Here’s a major new incentive for ag tech development: The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and major tech providers signed a peace treaty of sorts last month, appropriately, in Washington, D.C.

 
Growers — this may surprise you — are notoriously competitive and zealously, jealously guard the insights and business practices revealed by their big data.
 
Inputs lead to output. Down on the farm, inputs are water, fertilizer, climate and pesticide. Output is yield, and yield is profit.
 
So this meticulously negotiated big data agreement between ag tech providers and ag tech users is important to ag tech developers. It outlines the areas of concern that will guide cooperation and evolution over the next four to five years.
 
The target market is focused on:
  • Who owns the data? Farmers own information generated on their land.
  • Collection and control. Agreements must provide that the farmers explicitly and affirmatively grant to providers the ability to access and collect data, which remain under the owner’s control.
  • Third-party access. Farmers and ranchers will be advised who, if anyone, will have access to their data and how they will use it.
  • Portability. If the farmer leaves one provider for another, he or she will be able to retrieve stored data, though the provider retains anonymous aggregate data.
  • Free stuff. Competition among agricultural service conglomerates is already rife. Monsanto, Dow, Deere and Syngenta have products in service. Farmers can leverage free basic services, which must be enumerated in a contract.
  • Choice. The aforementioned big guys are advised to offer choice to customers, such as opt in/opt out for various products and features, and the ability to disable or disguise participation.
  • Insider trading. You’ve known the sudden realization … the data you’ve gathered has value to third parties. In this case, selling or otherwise using insights into commodities trading could bring a visit from the feds. It’s banned in the agreement.
This is just the beginning in an exciting and rapidly accelerating high tech niche. The agreement is important to Silicon Valley and California ag, because both are world leaders.
 
This article was originally published by TechWire