(Posted Thu. Nov 13th, 2014)

A coalition of major farm organizations and agriculture technology providers today announced an agreement on data privacy and security principles that will encourage the use and development of a full range of innovative, technology-driven tools and services to boost the productivity, efficiency and profitability of American agriculture.


“NCGA strongly believes that farmers are the sole owners of data gathered through precision farming practices,” said NCGA First Vice President Rob Elliott. “This information should not be used, released, or sold without the farmer’s consent, and this coalition is an important first step in addressing how farmers and ag tech providers will handle farm-generated data. NCGA will continue to be an active participant in industry-wide discussions about data protocols and protections.”


In addition to the National Corn Growers Association, the coalition supporting the principles includes American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Beck’s Hybrids, Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont Pioneer, John Deere, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, Raven Industries, The Climate Corporation – a division of Monsanto, and USA Rice Federation.


“The principles released today provide a measure of needed certainty to farmers regarding the protection of their data,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman. “Farmers using these technology-driven tools will help feed a growing world while also providing quantifiable environmental benefits. These principles are meant to be inclusive and we hope other farm organizations and ATPs join this collaborative effort in protecting farm-level data as well as educating farmers about this revolutionary technology.”


The principles promise to greatly accelerate the move to the next generation of agricultural data technology, which includes in-cab displays, mobile devices and wireless-enabled precision agriculture that has already begun to boost farm productivity across the United States. Many analysts compare today's big-data-driven precision ag to the "green revolution" of the 1960s and 70s, which has likely saved a billion lives or more from starvation since its inception.


Central to the effort surrounding the principles will be grower education initiatives that will include an easy-to-use transparency evaluation tool for farmers. The tool would allow farmers to compare and contrast specific issues within ATP contracts and to see how the contracts align with these agreed-upon principles, and how ATPs manage and use farmers’ data. 


Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data can be found here: