Farm Journal asked farmers how they use their production data, how they keep it secure and if they have accessibility concerns.
We use our data as an analysis tool to aid in purchasing decisions for next year and to monitor issues or problems while working in different fields.
I use wireless Internet to transmit data from multiple locations to sync together on the cloud, so I have access 24/7. However, because I sync to the cloud, I do wonder if anyone else has access to my data.
As far as government involvement, I always lean toward the side of caution. A lot of times government regulations start as one thing and end up as another. I’m not sure what I think about selling my data. They always say, everything is for sale, but in this case, it depends on how they are going to use it.
We use the data to make management and cropping decisions. We place a high value on our data, keeping it all in house.
I definitely have concerns when it comes to data security. I have done research with companies and land-grant universities, where I have shared and even given them data. But that data is my data, and I don’t expect anyone to use it without my permission.
Giving the government access to data is a two-edged sword. There will be legal questions to be answered, probably in court. Who owns the data if land is rented: the renter or the owner? What happens if the farmer stops renting the ground? Will the owner get a copy of the data?
We use our data to create yield maps. We don’t store our data in the cloud yet; we use a flash drive to download it on our computers.
We already share some data with our seed dealer. I’m not too worried about the government accessing our data, as we work hard to follow the regulations.
I had a guest speaker in a college class talk about a device that downloads and creates data from your tractor or combine. The data is accessible by both the farmer and company and is then sold to the highest bidder. The farmer would get half of the money the company paid for the data. I thought it sounded pretty cool since it generates revenue from big data, which is considered a by-product of everyday jobs.