Data Security on the Farm
In this new era where mass amounts of data are being compiled on the farm and off, growers want to know they have control.
However, whether producers do control their information isn’t a given in the relatively young precision ag industry. “It’s still a bit of the wild, wild west right now,” says Joe Russo, who helped pioneer what would become precision farming nearly 30 years ago at Penn State University. “The sharing of information can be good or bad, but those responsible for generating the data—the farmers—their permission should be required for any use.”
Many companies, including some agricultural equipment manufacturers, bury an “opt out” clause in the fine print of documents concerning a purchase or service agreement. In such cases, the onus is on the customers, who must search for and find such a clause, then purposefully decline in order to maintain their privacy. If not, the farm’s data could be given to third parties.
The inverse of that practice, one employed by all AGCO brands, is to ask the customer to opt in to share data. “We don’t allow ourselves to have access to the customer’s information without approval,” says Jason O’Flanagan, senior marketing specialist for AGCO’s Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS).
Knowing up front who has access to your data is imperative,
O’Flanagan continues. “Would you give just anyone your W-2 or your tax return?
When someone else takes your yield and application maps, and planning maps, you
are giving them a complete view of how your farm works.”
Because it’s critical to many precision ag operations, as well as equipment maintenance, there are plenty of valid reasons to share your data. Caution, however, is required, say the experts. “You need to know who has that information,” says O’Flanagan, “and you need to trust them to use that data carefully.”
Read more about the importance of data security and how data can help improve production at your operation. See http://www.myfarmlife.com/advantage/data-security-on-the-farm/.