I’m constantly on the lookout for good information to share with our readers. I know I can always count on farmers to have a valuable tidbit or two that I can pass along. That said, I wish I had a dime for every time one of you told me something newsy and then added, "I’m fine with you knowing that but please don’t print it." In other words, that nugget of information is now off-the-record.
You probably have a similar kind of informational give-and-take with your crop protection retailer, equipment dealer and seed sales rep. It makes sense that you share information—your on-farm data—with those folks. After all, you count on them for advice and a helping hand when the combine breaks down or a new corn hybrid lies flat on the ground after a storm. The challenge today is you have no guarantee your farm data stops and stays in your local adviser’s file cabinet or computer. With the various sensors and modems now factory-installed on tractors, combines, weigh wagons and the like, it’s possible some farm data bypasses your trusted retailer and goes straight to a company corporate office or consulting firm the company retains. In other words, your on-farm data might be going to people you don’t know and, perhaps, you wouldn’t trust.
You might be totally fine with that. I don’t know. What I do know is that maintaining control of potentially valuable information is a good business practice. Despite all the talk about data, and big data, specifically, its use on the farm is still in the infancy stage, and no one can say with certainty how it will be used in the future. Most experts advise a proactive approach to safeguarding your farm data, which you’ll read more about in the pages ahead. By staying in the driver’s seat, you’ll be prepared to take advantage of opportunities with your data when the time comes.